War against fly-tippers 'must continue'

Rural leaders are urging local councils to continue a pre-Christmas crackdown against fly-tipping.

The zero tolerance initiative saw vehicles seized and crushed as local authorities used new powers to tackle the problem.

Now the Country Land and Business Association wants to clampdown to continue into the new year.

Fly-tipping in England costs nearly £50m, with councils having to deal with almost 900,000 incidents every 12 months.

    See also: Crackdown against 'brazen' fly-tippers

The CLA said the problem wasn’t confined to streets and lay-bys, but also involved farmland.

CLA eastern region surveyor Tim Woodward said the organisation was receiving more and more reports of fly-tipping from its members.

Large quantities of rubbish were being dumped on land almost every day of the week.

Land on the urban fringe was frequently used as a dumping ground, said Mr Woodward.

“The waste involved is not just the occasional bin bag, but large household items, from unwanted sofas to broken washing machines, and building materials – even hazardous waste.”

Every incident of fly-tipping cost an average of £800 to clear up, said Mr Woodward. But cleaning up some incidents easily costs thousands of pounds.

Yet the maximum on-the-spot fine that can be levied by a local council is just £400.

“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.

Farmers were “simply fed up” with dealing with clearing up somebody else’s waste at their own expense, said Mr Woodward.

It was imperative the tougher stance of councils was mirrored by the punishments meted out by magistrates courts to fly-tippers.

“The maximum fine is £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a magistrates' court, but this is never enforced.

“If it was, it might well put people off. Frequently, it costs more to bring an offender to court than the penalty actually imposed,” he said.

“Our MPs need to take note of this blight on our countryside and put pressure on the courts to enforce a much higher penalty to those that flaunt the law.

“There is no deterrent if the fines imposed are going to cost criminals less than disposing of the rubbish legally.”


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