Buckinghamshire Council, together with over 150 local authorities and 10 professional bodies, is calling on the Sentencing Council to consider tougher fines and sentences for fly-tipping offenders.
As part of a proposed review of the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline (2014), Buckinghamshire 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 awful crime.
Currently, sentences handed down do not always match the severity of the offence committed 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 FTG along with the numerous supporting councils and professional bodies from across the UK is 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 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 FTG 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 is given a custodial sentence rather than another suspended sentence.
Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘During 2020/21 we faced exceptionally high levels of fly-tipping – with a 30% 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.‘
Further information about the Buckinghamshire Council Enforcement response to fly-tipping can be found on the Buckinghamshire Council website.
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.