‘Tougher punishments needed’ for fly-tippers

15 Mar 2024

Illegal fly-tipped waste was discovered dumped hundreds of times in High Peak last year, new figures show.

Now campaigners have called on the Government to review sentencing guidelines and urged them to introduce bigger fines and even jail for ‘professional fly-tippers’ when the culprits are caught.

Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show there were 389 fly-tipped incidents in High Peak in the year to March 2023, a slight decrease from 406 in 2021-2022.

In High Peak, most fly-tipped waste was discovered on highways, accounting for 6 per cent of recorded incidents. This was followed by 21 per cent on council land. The largest proportion of fly-tipped materials was household waste, making up 37 per cent of all incidents.

Across England, local authorities dealt with slightly fewer incidents in 2022-23, with 1.08 million cases compared with 1.09 million in 2021-2022. However, environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy, warned the number of ‘tipper lorry load’ size or larger incidents had increased by 13 per cent.

Alison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “It is time for the public and our justice system to say ‘enough is enough’ and tackle the selfish vandals who are trashing our environment. The public can play their part by ensuring they only give their unwanted ‘stuff’ to reputable, licensed waste-carriers who will dispose of it correctly.

The courts must help us by using the considerable sentencing powers they have to order hefty fines and even to jail ‘professional fly-tippers’ when they are caught.

“Environmental crime is not a victimless crime. We are all victims of it.”

The number of fixed penalty notices issued across the country fell from 91,000 in 2021-2022 to 73,000 in 2022-23, with 15 in High Peak. While the average court fine increased by 13 per cent to £526, there were fewer fines given last year, with a total value of £785,000 compared to £837,000 in the previous year.

Darren Rodwell, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Fly-tipping is inexcusable. It is not only an eyesore for residents, but a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.”

 

Advertiser Reporter, Buxton Advertiser, 1 February 2024