UK

Fly-tipping Christmas crackdown by councils

Dumped rubbish Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption There were 900,000 incidents of fly-tipping in England and Wales last year

Councils in England and Wales say they are mounting a "pre-Christmas zero-tolerance nationwide crackdown" on fly-tipping.

Their powers include seizing and crushing illegal dumpers' vehicles, says the Local Government Association.

Clearing illegally-dumped waste costs local authorities almost £50 million each year to clear up.

The LGA also wants to close a legal loophole requiring seven days' notice before raiding suspects' homes.

According to the LGA, there were 900,000 incidents of fly-tipping in 2014-15 - a 6% rise from the previous year.

The LGA's environment spokesman Martin Tett said: "Litter and fly-tipping is environmental vandalism - it's unpleasant, unnecessary and unacceptable.

"Not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents; it is also a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.

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Media captionHow fly-tipping can cost councils more than £50m per year

"At a time when councils face difficult choices about services in light of reducing budgets, they are having to spend a vast amount each year on tackling litter and fly-tipping.

"This is money that would be better spent on vital services such as filling potholes and caring for the elderly."

Mr Tett welcomed powers which came into force in May allowing councils to issue £400 on-the-spot fines to people caught in the act.

"Councils also need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences," he added.

'Man with the van'

"Local authorities should also be able to recoup all prosecution costs, rather than be left out of pocket."

Councillor Peter Fleming, deputy chairman of the LGA, wants changes so councils can deal better with the "man with the van" phenomenon.

He told the BBC: "We are seeing a massive increase in commercial fly-tipping, people going door-to-door saying 'We will take this for cash in hand.' Then we are finding that stuff dumped on a commercial scale, in our countryside, down back alleys. It is a huge problem costing lots and lots of money.

"After we have gathered evidence we would like to be able to take people's vehicles that have been used for fly-tipping, particularly commercial fly-tipping, and crush those vehicles.

"At the moment we have to give notice and often then the vehicle is no longer there. We see getting rid of these vans off the roads that are used to fly-tip will serve as a deterrent to others who are plying this trade".

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