The government introduced new legislation in May which gives councils powers to impose fines ranging from £150 to £400 on those caught illegally dumping waste. Now Leeds City Council’s director for environment and housing has approved the use of £300 fines under the Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016.
In 2012/13 Leeds City Council spent £216,341 cleaning up after fly-tippers. In 2014/15 that figure had risen to £743,398.
Last year there were more than 12,000 incidents of flytipping in Leeds, but few offenders faced the courts after being caught.
A report to the council’s director of environment and housing states that the courts can fine offenders up to £50,000 and sentence them to five-years in prison.
The report adds: “In reality, the average fines are much lower. Since 2013, Leeds City Council has presented 97 cases to court for incidents of fly-tipping with average fines in the region of £450.
“Whilst costs are usually awarded, it is rare that they actually cover the cost incurred by the authority and presenting the case at court.
“The Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016 introduce another enforcement tool in the form of a fixed penalty notice.
“These can be issued when an authorised officer has reason to believe that a person has committed a waste deposit offence within the areas of their authority.
“By issuing a fixed penalty notice, the legislation allows the recipient to discharge their liability to conviction for the offence. Failure to pay the fixed penalty notice can result in
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, (Lab/Kirkstall), deputy Leader and executive member for environment and sustainability, said: “Our streets and public spaces are not unofficial dumping grounds for people who are not getting rid of their waste through the proper channels.
“We have a range of tools at our disposal to deter, catch and punish those who blight our city with fly-tipping and these fixed penalty notices are part of that. Paying to remove illegally dumped waste removes money from being spent on better things elsewhere and harms our city. There’s no excuse for it.”
The report to the council’s director of environment and housing adds: “The Fixed penalty notice route avoids the need to involve the courts and the administrative and legal work involved is significantly
“Fixed penalty notices would be issued for most first time offences and for fly-tipping involving relatively small quantities of waste or waste which would not pose a risk of serious harm such as asbestos.
“A Fixed penalty notice is unlikely to be used where the offence committed is clearly part of a commercial enterprise.”
In May this year council chiefs in Leeds revealed that new cameras are set to snoop on litter louts in a bid to crackdown on fly-tipping. Portable cameras will be installed in fly-tipping hotspots which have been reported across west Leeds to snap tippers in the act. Cameras can be attached to trees and are movement-triggered.