Crackdown against brazen fly-tippers

Councils are using new powers to crush vehicles belonging to fly-tippers who illegally dump rubbish in the countryside.

Local authorities are also calling for the closure of a legal loophole which means officers must give some fly-tippers seven days written warning before inspecting them.

The zero-tolerance nationwide crackdown comes as fly-tippers are becoming increasingly brazen with some operators even dumping next to 'no fly-tipping' signs.

There are believed to be some 900,000 fly-tipping incidents every 12 months.

    See also: New action plan to tackle fly-tipping

Small-scale dumping often involves items such old pieces of broken furniture, old televisions and mattresses.

But many fly-tipping incidents see much larger loads of waste being dumped.

In Brentwood, Essex, the scale of rubbish dumped around Brentwood is increasing with fly-tippers now leaving lorry loads of waste in roads and farmer's fields.

Latest figures show the number of recorded fly-tipping 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 £18 million.

Commercial waste is the second largest waste type, accounting for almost 9% of fly-tipping incidents in England in 2014/15.

There was a 18% increase in commercial waste incidents from 65,000 in 2013/14 to 77,000 in 2014/15, according to the latest figures.

The Local Government Association has long called for the system for tackling unscrupulous fly-tippers to be overhauled.

LGA environment spokesman councillor Martin Tett said: "Councils are taking a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping.

"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 vandalisme."

The LGA 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.

These new powers, which were introduced in May, allow councils to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £400 for fly-tippers who make residents' lives hell and cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

Councils are reporting a significant rise in the so-called 'man with van' phenomenon.

This involves cold callers offering to 'dispose' of unwanted household goods like fridges, mattresses, and furniture for cash, which are then fly-tipped.

Households are being warned by councils to only use reputable operators who can prove they dispose of rubbish responsibly. Cash in hand is usually a sign they aren't.

Residents and businesses play a key role in helping keep streets clean by reporting fly-tips. Many councils now offer smartphone apps to make this easier.

Businesses are required by law to dispose of waste responsibly. Councils can advise on what they need to do, and how to find a reputable waste removal company.

Councillor Tett said: "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."


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