Buckinghamshire Council, along with over 150 local authorities and 10 professional bodies, is calling for tougher fines and sentences for fly-tippers.
As part of a proposed review of the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline (2014), Bucks Council, working in partnership with the Hertfordshire Fly-Tipping Group and a range of local authorities and professional bodies covering Bedfordshire, 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 crime.
Currently, sentences handed down do not always match the severity of the offence 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.
The councils and professional bodies from across the UK are asking the Sentencing Council to consider changes that would mean:
Court fines would exceed the cost of Fixed Penalty Notice fines and 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 on 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 fly-tipping group suggests means testing should be used to ascertain what type of fine(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 would be given a custodial sentence rather than another suspended sentence.
Peter Strachan, cabinet member for climate change and environment at Bucks Council, said: “During 2020/21 we faced exceptionally high levels of fly-tipping, with a 30 per cent increase across Buckinghamshire. Without an effective deterrent, the burden on our resources will continue to cause a blight on our countryside.
"We urge the Sentencing Council to respond to the areas we have highlighted for review.
"We hope that in the future they might build into their system a procedure similar to that already in place with student loans, where offenders with limited means at the time of offending are made to pay fines and costs in the future when they have more money available.”
More information about the Buckinghamshire Council response to fly-tipping can be found here, or follow #SCRAPflytipping across the Bucks Council social media platforms.