Councils call for tougher legal action on fly-tippers

Councils call for tougher legal action on fly-tippers

Councils call for tougher legal action on fly-tippers

 Published: 05-Aug-2021

Gravesham Borough Council and the 12 other Kent Borough and District authorities have come together via the Kent Resource Partnership (KRP) to join with over 150 local authorities and 10 professional bodies to call on the Sentencing Council to consider tougher fines and sentences for fly tipping offenders.

As part of a proposed review of the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline (2014), Gravesham, working in partnership with a range of local authorities and professional bodies covering Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey and Warwickshire, is calling for tougher action against those who commit this awful crime.

Currently, sentences handed down do not always match the severity of the offence committed or fairly reflect the costs incurred by the public purse. This means that punishment for the offence of fly tipping does not act as a suitable deterrent.

Gravesham is asking the Sentencing Council to consider changes that would mean:

  • Court fines would exceed the cost of Fixed Penalty Notice fines and to include costs incurred by the public purse and the police in bringing a fly tipper to court
  • Costs related to the clean-up of fly tipping on private land and restoration of that land would be included in fines paid by those who are prosecuted
  • When deciding the level of fine, fly tipping would be looked at by the court as an offence first, and not at the person and their ability to pay first. The FTG suggests Means testing should be used to ascertain what typeoffine(s) to give, and never how much they should pay.
  • If a defendant cannot pay the fine in full, or in part, it is strongly recommended that community-based sentences are more widely used and available across all offence categories.
  • More use of suspended prison sentences which has been proven to be a strong deterrent to serial fly tipping offenders in Buckinghamshire
  • Anyone convicted of a second fly tipping offence is given a custodial sentence rather than another suspended sentence

Cllr John Burden, Leader of Gravesham Borough Council, said: “Our Environmental Enforcement team is having a great deal of success in identifying the criminals who believe wrongly that it is acceptable to dump waste illegally within our Borough.

“However, the time and commitment they are devoting to this is not being reflected in punishments being handed down by the courts and we firmly believe sentencing guidelines must be updated if legal sanctions are to be an effective deterrent.

“The courts must have the power to help us protect our local environment in the way our residents rightly expect.”

Cllr Nick Kenton, Chairman of the Kent Resource Partnership said: “We are working hard as a partnership to tackle fly tipping, however, we are continuously faced with high levels of fly tipping here in Kent.

“Without an effective deterrent, the number of fly tips will continue to go up, creating a massive burden on our resources and causing a blight on our countryside. We urge the Sentencing Council to respond to the areas we have highlighted for review.”

The 13 Kent councils are working in partnership to Keep Kent Clean.

To keep updated with the councils’ efforts to tackle fly tipping and littering, follow #KeepKentClean.

 Last updated: 05-Aug-2021

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