Fly-tipping is a serious problem on the streets of Britain not only does it ruin the aesthetic of an area it can also be a risk to public health. Despite this severe threat incidents of fly tipping in London have continued to rise. This makes us question whether the current fly-tipping regulations are enough of a deterrent?
When there is an incident of fly-tipping the council can prosecute the offender under The Environmental Protection Act 1990, the punishment under this act is imprisonment and fines. However it doesn’t always work that way.
Lance Morris is a serial fly-tipper in London. Over three years he dumped 60 tonnes of rubbish on the streets of Croydon. He was taken to Court and despite this costing the local Council thousands of pounds to clear up, Morris was fined just £50.
This ruling shows an abject failure of our regulations to properly protect society from illegal dumping. This also costs the council a significant amount in legal fees to prosecute, so the Government has tried to make it easier for Councils to punish fly-tipping.
Last May the Government gave councils across the country new powers to issue on the spot fines but still there is an abject failure to stop the continued dumping of rubbish.
These new fly-tipping regulations allow councils to issue on the spot fines between £150 and £400. This was meant to reduce waste crime while also saving the councils money because they no longer need to go to court to prosecute offenders. However this initiative is also failing.
A Freedom of Information request from the Press Association revealed that of the 302 councils responsible for clearing up illegally dumped rubbish only 118 had made use of on the spot fines.
There is also a lack of awareness of the new fines amongst the public with a survey finding 72% of respondents are unaware of the new law. Considering this scheme is supposedly to discourage fly tipping a larger proportion of the public need to be aware of these potential fines.
Fly-tipping in London is where offenders are most likely to receive an on the spot fine. Newham Borough Council has issued 135 fixed penalty notices worth £54,000 in total. This is a step in the right direction but Newham is also the area that had the most incidents of fly-tipping showing further work is needed to discourage illegal dumping.
The environmental risks of fly-tipping in London are well documented, it can increase the rodent population, allow dangerous chemicals to seep into the land and can cause serious injuries. Despite this there is still an abject failure of our laws to protect us from this growing problem.
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