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13.10.14

Councils tackling ‘worst-ever’ fly tipping as LGA demands more powers

Council chiefs are calling for greater powers to tackle the growing problem of fly-tipping, which is costing taxpayers millions. 

The Local Government Association (LGA) wants councils to have the “flexibility” to issue on-the-spot fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for some cases, such as dumping broken furniture, old televisions and mattresses. 

Currently, councils can only take fly-tippers to court and this can be expensive, and time-consuming – frequently involving lengthy investigations. Often councils are also left out of pocket because courts only award partial costs. The LGA would like to see local authorities awarded full costs. 

In response to the LGA’s call, a Defra spokesperson said that fly-tipping blights communities and poses a risk to human health. 

“That is why we have invested an additional £5m to tackle waste crime and supported tough new sentencing guidelines on fly-tipping which reflect the seriousness of the offence,” he told PSE. “We continue to work with the LGA to improve our response, including making it easier to seize vehicles involved and considering the case for FPNs.” 

Fly tipping c. MrsEd

Under the current system, local authorities tackle almost three-quarters of a million (711,000) annual fly-tipping incidents, costing more than £36m – which is the on average equal to the cost of collection of waste and recycling for over half a million homes per year. 

On top of this, some councils say they are now seeing some of the “worst cases of fly-tipping ever”. Stoke-on-Trent council, for instance, is fielding 400 complaints a month combating piles of dumped items like abandoned tyres, cars and even baths. Derby City Council is also setting up a special night-time “enforcement team” to tackle fly-tippers. 

Cllr Peter Box, the LGA's environment spokesman said it is “unacceptable” and “inexcusable” for anyone to dump waste illegally and councils know how much people hate seeing this sort of vandalism on their doorsteps. 

“Local authorities are remarkably effective and efficient in tackling fly-tipping but the current system works against them. We need a new streamlined system which helps councils and hurts those doing the dumping, one that is nimble, flexible and effective,” he added. 

“All the figures show that the huge amount of effort local authorities put into preventing and tackling fly-tipping is having a real impact – but new powers would ensure it goes even further.” 

(Top image: c. David Brossard. Body image: c. MrsEd) 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Robert Painton   14/10/2014 at 13:16

i think on the spot fines are well over due most of the problems faced in my ward is during the annual student change over.They place there unwanted items next to refuse bins this results in bin scavengers ripping open there sacks and rifling the contents scattering the rest over the public highways. Also some unscrupulist HMO landlords remove matresses/tv's/kitchen items/white goods and dump those on the highways to save there costs, were a concerted law was brought in to stop this process with high fines when cuaght the annual rise in flytipping would greatly reduce.

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