A recent survey into the extent of fly-tipping collected from councils all across the UK reveals a total clear up cost of £58 million in the last year.
Fly-tipping costs the individual land owners who are victims of the offence. George Winn-Darley had £800 worth of fly-tipping to clear up from his land, Aldby Park country estate at Buttercrambe in Yorkshire. The perpetrators were given a fixed penalty of £400, which can be given by councils, negating the need to go to court.
George Winn-Darley criticised fixed penalties, stating that they are ineffective, especially since the fixed penalty is less than it costs the victim to clear up the waste.
This matches figures which show that enforcement notices, including investigations and warning letters have decreased, suggesting that councils are not effectively tackling the problem.
A spokesperson from Enfield council implies that the problem is not merely with councils failing to act, but holding back reports of fly-tipping, which some councils do when they have cleared the waste before it is revealed to the public. The survey results support this by the fact that Enfield council’s fly-tipping figures far outweigh those recorded by other districts, such as Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea which report less than 100 incidents of fly-tipping per 1000 residents.
The environment spokesperson for The Local Government Association, Martin Tett, believes councils need a more effective system to tackle offenders, whilst manufacturers need to employ a recycling scheme for customers who are replacing a piece of furniture.
The Country and Land Business Association (CLA), who regulates landowners, farmers and rural businesses, are petitioning for greater penalties, since it was costing them up to £150 million a year.
The president of CLA, Ross Murray states,
“To really combat the crime we need to see tougher penalties which act as a true deterrent. Often, it is more expensive for the victim to remove the fly-tipped waste than the fixed penalty notice to the perpetrator. Imposing and enforcing penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime, such as seizing vehicles used to fly-tip, is vital."
As a crime, fly-tipping is not only detrimental to the environment, but it can have a knock affect and actually make the victim liable for the illegal storage of waste if they dispute the clear up responsibility. In this way, it has damaging consequences, from a legal perspective, for those who have no choice but to respond to this environmental crime, off their own back.
Duncan Lewis Crime Solicitors
Duncan Lewis’ crime department is recommended by Legal 500 and is praised for its conscientious and professional approach when dealing with criminal matters. Our crime solicitors can advise companies and individuals at any stage of an environmental offence, including charges relating to polluting watercourses, fisheries offences, fly tipping, waste carrier offences, failing to manage hazardous waste, air pollution, noise pollution, or misuse of permitted land.
There are Duncan Lewis offices across England and Wales and in most major cities – and a Duncan Lewis criminal defence solicitor can advise at the start of an investigation by the Environment Agency or local authority, even before charges are brought.
For expert legal advice on all environmental offences, call Duncan Lewis crime solicitors on 0333 772 0409.