Council chiefs consider on-the-spot fines for fly-tippers

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Plans to introduced new fixed penalty notices against fly-tippers are to be examined by Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet next week.

Last May, the Government gave local authorities the power to issue fines of between £150 and £400 to those caught in the act of fly-tipping, instead of having to take them to court, as part of efforts to crack down on waste crime.

Sunderland has, so far, not taken up these powers and is one of scores of local authorities up and down the country not to have issued an on-the-spot fine.

The council has successfully prosected fly-tippers through the courts.

The on-the-spot fines are part of an update to the council’s rules and regulations on Environment Enforcement.

Under the new rules, fly-tippers could face a fixed penalty of £350, with a reduction to £250 where payment is made within a period of ten days.

More serious offences could still lead to court action.

Coun Michael Mordey, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder on City Services, said the new penalties for fly-tippers are possible under new and updated legislation which will be discussed on Wednesday.

He said: “The council and many residents are more than aware of the problems that a lazy and irresponsible minority are creating by not disposing of their waste and litter properly.

“The council can no longer afford to go round and simply clean up after people who do not take any care or effort to look after their communities.

“The vast majority of people in Sunderland want a cleaner and greener city and we can no longer tolerate those who are not making the effort to help keep our streets, parks, playing fields and neighbourhoods clean and tidy.

“Therefore, the council has been looking at what other measures could be introduced to deter fly-tipping. This is what is now being considered by the Cabinet.”

Coun Mordey said the council had successfully prosecuted several fly-tippers in the last year.

He went on to say that more prosecutions in the magistrates’ courts were pending, including cases in Ryhope, Silksworth and Washington.

He added: “While there is still a role for people to be more educated and informed about their actions, there is a recognition that a more robust approach is now necessary.

“This more robust approach is what I am taking to next week’s Cabinet meeting.”

Fly-tipping has been on the rise in the past few years, with 900,000 incidents in 2014/2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, and councils spending £50 million on clear-up costs and £17 million on enforcement action.”