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Tougher sentences needed to deter fly-tipping, says Local Government Association

Councils have called for the introduction of tougher sentences for fly-tipping, after the latest figures showed it costs them £58m a year to clear up.

The Local Government Association said only 5% of court-imposed fines for fly-tipping offences in England in the past six years were above £1,000, and only a sixth of them above £500.

The LGA pointed out fly-tipping incidents had increased by 50% over the same period, up from 714,637 in 2012/13 to 1,072,431 in 2018/19.

It pointed out that only two people had been given the maximum £50,000 fine by the courts for fly-tipping since the Government introduced new guidelines in 2014.

The LGA revealed that councils took action on nearly half a million incidents in 2018/19 – almost 5,000 more than the previous year and up by nearly 75,000 in six years.

Successful prosecutions brought by councils are also at their highest level since 2011/12, while fixed penalty notices were at record levels

It warned that due to demand on councils’ legal duties, such as caring for elderly and disabled people, protecting children and providing homelessness support, less money was available for discretionary powers – like issuing penalty notices for fly-tipping.

The LGA called for a review of the guidance to the courts to ensure the worst offenders face tougher sentences, and for councils to be given the funding needed to investigate and prosecute fly-tippers.

LGA Environment spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said: “Fly-tipping is not only an illegal, inexcusable and ugly blight on society, it is a serious public health risk and costs taxpayers in England £58 million a year to clear up.

“Councils are determined to crack down on the problem and have increased enforcement activity, including installing CCTV at fly-tipping hotspots to support successful prosecutions.

“However, prosecuting fly-tippers often requires time-consuming and laborious investigations, with a high threshold of proof. Tougher sentences are needed to act as a stronger deterrent to criminals dumping waste.

“This is why we want to work with the Government on reviewing sentencing guidelines for fly-tipping, so offenders are given bigger fines for more serious offences, and ensure councils have the funding needed to investigate incidents.”

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