Fly-tippers to face on-the-spot fines of up to £400
PUBLISHED: 17:26 09 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:26 09 May 2016
Gravesham council says it will come down hard on people caught fly-tipping
Gravesham Council says the introduction of on-the-spot fines of up to £400 for fly-tipping will help it to crack down on offenders in the borough.
The new fines, of between £150 and £400, came into effect today (May 9) and allow local authorities to deal with small-scale fly-tipping quickly and efficiently without having to take offenders to court.
Illegal dumping has been on the rise in the region, with a 14.5 per cent increase in the number of incidents between 2013-14 and 2014-15 - significantly higher than the national figure of 5.6 per cent, according to figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The council spent a total of £138,066 clearing up after tippers during 2014-15, while on a national level the estimated cost of fly-tipping was nearly £50 million.
Lead member for community services councillor Sandra Garside said: “We take fly-tipping very seriously. It is an eyesore and also creates pollution and is a threat to public health.
“Since the new powers have come in to enable us to have more control in issuing on-the-spot fines it means, as ever, it will not be tolerated. It is illegal and we will come down hard on those who are caught.”
The council says it issued one fixed-penalty notice of £75 during 2015 and issued cautions on two occasions, while two cases are currently ongoing.
Helen Bingham, communications manager at Keep Britain Tidy, said councils previously “had to go out of their way to go through the courts - and quite often the fines handed out were less than the costs of court.”
She added that while there is no proven reason for the rise in fly-tipping, the closure of some recycling centres, an increase in collection charges and the higher costs of disposing of waste due to the landfill tax mean some people have resorted to illegal methods.
“Some people have started using a ‘man with a van’ - but such people often do not have a waste carrier licence, and people could be liable to pay charges if there is something in dumped waste that identifies them,” Mrs Bingham warned.
Cllr Garside urged people who witness fly-tipping to report incidents to the council.