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Masthead Local Govt - Regulatory

Councils need more effective legal system for serious fly-tipping offences: LGA

Councils need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences, the Local Government Association has said.

In its response to a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation on proposals to introduce a new fixed penalty for the waste duty of care, the LGA said councils must be able to cover the full costs of bringing about successful prosecutions.

“Fines resulting from prosecutions are paid directly to the Court, and councils must recover costs through a separate process. Unfortunately, local authorities regularly end up clawing back far less than they had to spend on the duties associated with prosecution,” it argued.

The LGA also said councils would need additional funds to make active use of the proposed new power to impose fixed penalty notices for household duty of care fly-tipping offences.

It said enforcement policies and systems would have to be updated and “we would expect the costs to councils to be higher than the money that can be recouped through money collected in fines.

“If government wish to see proactive use of the new penalty this should be supported by additional funding for councils.”

The LGA said though that fixed penalty notices for the offence of a householder passing their waste to an unauthorised person could provide a useful alternative to prosecution for ‘duty of care’ offences.

But it said: “Criminal activity will not be deterred by a new fine for householders. Councils would like to see hard hitting penalties that send a strong message to illegal waste operators.”

Proposed maximum fines of £400 with a minimum discounted penalty of £120 would be the same as fixed penalty notice fines for fly tippers, and “we agree that this a reasonable principle for setting the level of fines”, the LGA said.

Asked whether councils should be able to offer an appeals process for a household duty of care notice, the LGA said: “It is not clear why government thinks an appeals system would be necessary for a householder duty of care fixed penalty notice.

“For councils, it would be bureaucratic to set up an appeals system for one type of fixed penalty notice. It would also require additional time and resources.”

The consultation also covered measures intended to raise the standard of operator competence across all permitted waste sites and to reform the waste exemptions regime.

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