A pre-Christmas zero-tolerance crackdown on fly-tipping by local authorities has been praised by industry experts but has been urged to remain a priority into the New Year.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils were using ‘new powers’ to issue on-the-spot penalty notices of up to £400 and to ‘seize and destroy’ vehicles which are used by fly-tipping offenders.
But the CLA said this scheme had been implemented since May this year and said the Government should pressure the courts to enforce a higher penalty to those who break the law through dumping rubbish.
CLA president Ross Murray said: “It is high time local councils began to use these powers and make people think twice about dumping their rubbish illegally.
“The crackdown should not just be for the Christmas period but throughout 2017.
“This will not only ease the pressure on the public purse, but also on demoralised farmers and landowners who are simply fed up with clearing up somebody else’s waste at their own expense.”
The LGA raised concerns that the ‘no nonsense’ approach fly-tippers took had become ‘increasingly brazen’, with the CLA suggesting it was most likely due to the rarity of imposed fines.
“The maximum fine is £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates’ Court, but this is never enforced,” added Mr Murray.
“If it was, it might deter fly-tippers. Frequently, it costs more to bring an offender to court than the penalty actually imposed.
“There is no deterrent if the fines imposed are going to cost criminals less than disposing of the rubbish legally.”
The problem has become increasingly widespread across the country, with counts of fly-tipping hitting 900,000 every year and clear-up costs reaching £50 million.
The crackdown came as a tyre dumping operation in South Buckinghamshire was shut down after the criminal was ‘pounced on’ in the middle of a midnight dumping spree.
Usman Ahmed, 28, of Knolton Way, Slough, who was responsible for over forty dumping incidents, each of 50-60 tyres, was sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court on December 12 and fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,195.50 in costs.
He was also sentenced to 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Judge Francis Sheridan, who sentenced the Mr Ahmed, said fly-tippers were the ‘scourge of the countryside’ and were ‘robbing the county of its money’.