Local authorities have welcomed the Government’s pledge to provide them with the powers to do more to tackle illegal waste and fly-tipping.
Whitehall has launched a consultation to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector, which includes proposals to give councils the powers to fine fly-tippers.
Local authorities currently have to pursue those whose waste ends up fly-tipped or illegally dumped through the courts.
The Local Government Association (LGA) welcomed the Government’s decision to recommend giving councils the powers to apply Fixed Penalty Notices to fly-tippers but also called for more ‘hard-hitting fines’.
‘We were pleased the Government responded to our call for councils to be able to apply Fixed Penalty Notices to fly-tippers – and this was a big step in the right direction,’ Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Environment spokesman, said.
‘But when they take offenders to court, councils need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences.’
Councils spend more than £57m a year clearing up rubbish that has been illegally dumped and it is estimated that in 2015 waste crime cost the English economy more than £600m.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affars (DEFRA) will also give the Environment Agency powers to block access to problem waste sites and force operators to clear all the waste at these sites.
‘Waste crime and fly-tipping blight our communities and spoil our countryside, and we need determined action to tackle it,’ said Environment Minister Therese Coffey.
‘These new powers for the Environment Agency will curb the rise of waste sites that continue to operate outside the law.
‘But we must all take responsibility for our waste to make sure it does not end up in the hands of criminals who will wilfully dump it.
‘Our new consultation looks more widely at the waste sector and we are keen to hear from industry and the public how we can improve performance, tackle illegality and protect our precious environment.’
‘We are pleased the Government has pledged to crack down on illegal waste and fly-tipping,’ commented Cllr Tett.
‘Clearing up fly-tipping costs councils more than £57m a year – money that could be spent on other services, like caring for the elderly, protecting children or tackling homelessness.
‘It is unacceptable that they are having to spend vast amounts each year tackling this scourge.’