LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE CRACKING DOWN ON FLY-TIPPERS
Local authorities in England and Wales are using new powers to seize and crush vehicles used for the illegal dumping of waste in a bid to crackdown on fly-tippers.
Councils are also calling for a legal loophole – which means enforcement officers have to give some fly-tippers seven days written warning before inspecting them and seizing evidence – to be closed immediately to help them tackle the growing problem.
The zero-tolerance approach comes as fly-tippers are becoming increasingly brazen with some operators even dumping waste next to ‘no fly-tipping’ signs. Local authorities are also reporting a significant rise in the number of cold callers approaching homeowners and offering to dispose of unwanted household items such as large kitchen appliances, furniture and mattresses in exchange for cash. All of which is then dumped illegally.
UK householders are being warned to be vigilant over the Christmas and new Year period and only use reputable companies who can prove they dispose of rubbish responsibly. Residents should always ask to see a copy of their waste carrier registration details and obtain a waste transfer note as proof of the transfer or rubbish to an authorized person/company.
The call comes as the cost of clearing up fly-tipping in England has hit nearly £50m, with councils having to deal with almost 900,000 incidents every 12 months. Latest figures show the number of recorded incidents rose by almost 6% for 2014/15 compared with 2013/14, while the clear-up costs increased by 11%. Councils are carrying out over half a million enforcement actions every year, costing local taxpayers almost £18m.
The Local Government Association has long called for the system for tackling unscrupulous fly-tippers to be overhauled. It successfully campaigned for councils to be able to issue on-the-spot Fixed Penalty Notices by council enforcement officers to help tackle small-scale fly-tipping, like dumping items such as pieces of broken furniture, old televisions and mattresses.
These new powers, which were introduced in May, allow councils to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £400 for fly-tippers.
Cllr Martin Tett, Environment Spokesman for Local Government Association said: “Councils are taking a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping and this means using every power at their disposal – including seizing and destroying vehicles used by the dumpers. At a time when councils face difficult choices about services in light of reducing budgets, they are having to spend a vast amount each year on tackling litter and fly-tipping. This is money that would be better spent on vital services such as filling potholes and caring for the elderly. Litter and fly-tipping is environmental vandalism – it’s unpleasant, unnecessary and unacceptable.”
He added: “The Government has responded to our call for councils to be able to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for small scale fly-tipping – and this is a big step in the right direction. Councils also need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences. Local authorities should also be able to recoup all prosecution costs, rather than be left out of pocket.
“Councils use enforcement powers proportionately and take a range of different approaches to raise awareness and change culture. This includes providing advice and encouraging residents to report incidents and businesses to keep areas next to their premises clean and clear of litter and mess that can attract dumping.”
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