Councils failing to use new powers to prevent fly-tipping, claims furniture retailer

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Councils in England are not using new legislative powers which allow local authorities to hand out fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping offences, according to online furniture retailer Furniture Choice.

"Fly-tipping has become increasingly problematic in England over recent years, with the number of incidents increasing from 2013/14 to 2014/15 by 5.6%. Local authorities reported around 900,000 incidents which cost an estimated £50 million to remove," said Tom Obbard, director at Furniture Choice, before adding: "On 9 May 2016 the government introduced new legislative powers which allows local councils to hand out fixed penalty notices for small-scale fly-tipping offences. These new powers were created in an attempt to combat the vast amount of illegal waste being dumped across England."

Furniture Choice said it submitted Freedom of Information requests to 20 of the biggest cities across England to establish if they’re using these new measures, and which councils have handed out the most penalties. The data revealed that the councils in Liverpool (39) and Brighton (33) had handed out the most fixed penalty notices.

"The new provisions allow a waste collection authority in England to issue fines for fly-tipping. These cannot be less than £150 and not more than £400, if no amount is specified then the fine will be issued at £200," continued Obbard.

The councils who handed out the most fixed penalty notices since 9 May 2016 are reported to be:

  • Liverpool (39) estimated cost £7,800
  • Brighton (33) estimated cost £6,600
  • Manchester (32) estimated cost £6,400
  • Newcastle (32) estimated cost £6,400
  • Brent (26) estimated cost £5,200
  • Stoke-on-Trent (17) estimated cost £3,400

Further research by Furniture Choice revealed that the public think councils should provide easier alternatives to fly-tipping (39%) and they should do more to increase the awareness of fly-tipping laws (38%).

"However, the combination of the public’s demand to increase the prevention of fly-tipping and the new legislative powers issued by the government, does not seem to be encouraging all councils to take action," said Obbard. "Surprisingly, despite the high levels of fly-tipping in the UK, numerous councils have not handed out any penalties since May 2016."

Furniture Choice said councils who have handed out no fixed penalty notices since 9 May 2016 are:

  1. Wakefield
  2. Nottingham
  3. Leicester
  4. Leeds
  5. Bristol
  6. Bradford
  7. Birmingham
  8. Sunderland
  9. Coventry
  10. Derby

"There are a variety of reasons that could explain the lack of penalties issued, for example, no reporting of incidents to the council or lack of manpower to engage with the new laws," commented Obbard. "However, some councils such as Bristol and Coventry responded to the FOI request by saying they have not yet implemented the new law, and Sunderland only issue fixed-penalty notices for littering and not fly-tipping."

In response to Furniture Choice’s FOI request Bristol City Council is reported to have explained: “The Streetscence Enforcement Team is currently in the process of being restructured into a new team combining a number of existing full range of FPN powers available to the new team.”

Obbard added: “Knowing that fly-tipping incidents are increasing year-on-year in England is a major concern. Hopefully, councils that have implemented these new legislative powers, which include fines of up to £400, will begin to see a reduction in fly-tipping incidents in the near future.

“Perhaps, further education on the effects that dumping illegal waste has on the environment will help reduce incidents of fly-tipping across England,” continued the director.

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