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Southwest PCCs calls for tougher fly-tipping sanctions considered by DEFRA

Following southwest Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) calling for tougher sanctions on fly-tipping, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will be taking their suggestions into consideration.

Last month, Avon and Somerset PCC Mark Shelford, along with his counterparts in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire penned a letter to Therese Coffey – the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – calling for new way to tackle the “growing menace” of fly-tipping.

With the cost-of-living crisis impacting the lives of millions of people, the PCCs believe urgent action is required to tackle this crime. The cost of fly-tipping on private land is estimated to be up to £150million a year and the cost of clearance of fly-tipping for local authorities in England is nearly £50million.

The group said that “greater coordination” and “tougher penalties” are needed to meet the Government’s target of eradicating waste crime by 2043.

The PCCs outlined five approaches that they believe would reduce fly-tipping including increasing the maximum fixed penalty notices for small scale offences to £1,000 and imposing a minimum fine of £50,000 for repeat, large scale offenders.

The letter further stated that, whilst the group welcome measures such as digital waste tracking, fixed penalty notices and the increasing use of CCTV in fly-tipping hotspots, more needs to be done to deter fly-tipping, which has become the anti-social behaviour of the countryside.

Last week, the PCCs received a response from Rebecca Pow MP, the Minister responsible for this policy area, stating that the DEFRA would be considering their suggestions.

The response also stated that the Government would also be exploring the effectiveness of the different enforcement options available to local authorities including fixed penalties and the barriers they face using them.

“It is time to make criminals pay for fly-tipping, not local people. I’m delighted that Rebecca Pow MP for Taunton Deane is supportive in the five southwest PCCs coming together to fight the scourge of fly-tipping. This is a step in the right direction.

“This crime blights our rural landscape and causes problems to farmers and the rural economy. I am committed to working with partner agencies to find new ways to tackle this problem.”

PCC Mark Shelford