Fly-tippers 'need tougher sentences' from courts, Wakefield Council says

Fly-tipping offences cost the taxpayer around 200,000 a year to clean up
Fly-tipping offences cost the taxpayer around 200,000 a year to clean up

Tougher punishments need to be handed down to criminals who dump rubbish on public land, according to a motion being put forward by Wakefield Council.

The local authority will call for a review of sentencing guidelines for fly-tippers next week.

No-one has ever been given the maximum possible punishment for fly-tipping available to courts in England and Wales.

No-one has ever been given the maximum possible punishment for fly-tipping available to courts in England and Wales.

Under rules brought in in 2014, fly-tippers can face a maximum punishment of 12 months in prison or a £50,000 fine if convicted by a magistrates court.

If they are found guilty in a crown court, offenders can be fined an unlimited amount, or receive up to five years in prison.

But no-one in England and Wales has ever been given such a sentence, despite Wakefield Council claiming that fly-tipping incidents have risen by 40 per cent across the country since 2012.

In the same period, resources for councils have fallen, meaning less is being spent on cleaning up mess and investigations.

Councillor Maureen Cummings will present the motion next week

Councillor Maureen Cummings will present the motion next week

Councillors will vote on motion, which will be presented by the council's Cabinet member for communities Maureen Cummings, next week.

Coun Cummings' motion reads: "Fly-tipping is unsightly, unacceptable and inexcusable environmental vandalism.

"Wakefield is doing everything it can to try and deter fly-tippers.

"However, prosecuting them often requires time-consuming and laborious investigations, with a high threshold of proof, at a time when councils face significant budget pressures.

"Consistent and hard-hitting prosecutions are needed to deter rogue operators and fly-tippers.

"Councils also need adequate funding to investigate incidents and ensure fly-tippers do not go unpunished."

The resolution will call on the government to "review guidance to courts to ensure the worst offenders face tougher sentences".

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act last year, revealed that dumping waste on public land was costing the Wakefield taxpayer around £200,000 a year.

And last September, Labour councillor Hilary Mitchell said the fines being given to fly-tippers were "pathetic".

She said: "The fines these people are getting are very low.

“If you’re a waste carrier and you’re trying to make a couple of quid, what’s stopping you?

“If you get caught, and that’s a big ‘if’, you only get a fine of about £500. It’s pathetic. It’s not big enough.

"The fines should be in the thousands.”

Local Democracy Reporting Service