Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson, has welcomed tougher sanctions on fly-tipping after he joined his fellow PCCs in the south-west to lobby the government on the issue.
After receiving a joint letter from PCCs in Wiltshire, Dorset, Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, and Gloucestershire, the government announced it would be introducing increased penalties for fly-tippers.
The minimum fine for the offence has been raised from £400 up to £1000 and changes will also see additional support given to local authorities to enable them to hand out more fines to ‘disrespectful offenders’, a league table for local authorities based on fly-tipping performance and a change in the law removing the need to have the regulator present when a police officer seizes a vehicle unlawfully carrying waste.
Mr Wilkinson said: “I am pleased the government has listened to the issues we raised and acted upon them. It shows that greater co-ordination between PCCs, along with the National Rural Crime Network, has a positive effect.
“Fly-tipping has a detrimental effect on the environment and it’s something we need to crack down on in Wiltshire. It’s not only destroying our beautiful countryside, but also costing our already stretched local authorities millions of pounds.
“These stronger penalties will put the cost onto the criminals, not the taxpayers. The changes will help police and other enforcement agencies to be tougher on those committing the offence of fly-tipping.
“The government has the goal to eradicate waste crime by 2043. If this target is going to be met, then there needs to be greater coordination across the country and we will continue to campaign for further preventative measures to tackle fly-tipping in our communities”
According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), a total of 55,162 fly-tipping incidents were recorded across the South West in 2020/21, up from 50,506 during the previous 12 months. The cost of fly-tipping on private land is around £150 million a year, and the cost to clear fly-tipping for local authorities in England is nearly £50 million.
Speaking about the stronger penalties and a new round of grants available to local authorities to help reduce fly-tipping, Rebecca Pow, Minister for Resources and Waste, said:
“Fly-tipping is a cynical crime which blights communities and the environment.
“Our first round of grants over the last year were a big success, which is why we are expanding this scheme to help more local authorities around the country take the fight to waste criminals.”
Defra is also developing a fly-tipping toolkit with the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group to help establish best practices among local authorities.