Sunak promises to increase fly-tipping fines from £400 to £1,000


As part of the UK government’s plan to tackle “anti-social behaviour”, Rishi Sunak has promised to increase the upper limit on fines for fly-tipping from £400 to £1,000.

The PM also said the government will support councils to hand out more of these fines to “disrespectful offenders”. He continued that local authorities will keep the funds generated from fines to “reinvest in clean up and enforcement”.

As part of the government’s anti-social behaviour plan, Sunak said victims and affected communities of anti-social behaviour will get a say in deciding what type of punishment or consequences offenders should face, alongside input from local police and crime commissioners.

The government will also publish league tables for local authorities based on their fly-tipping performance.

The £400 FPN does not discourage fly-tippers to dispose of their waste unlawfully.

According to statistics released by the government for the 2021/22 year, local authorities in England dealt with 1.09 million fly-tipping incidents, a decrease of 4% from the 1.14 million reported in 2020/21.

Sunak has also said the government will ban nitrous oxide (Nos), also known as laughing gas. He continues that the aim of the ban is to put an end to litter and “intimidation” in parks so people feel safer.

According to Bywaters’, the London-based recycling and resource management firm, new report, “What London’s waste says about us”, the company processed 16,499 Nos canisters in London last year. Bywaters says its unique handling process for these items costs over £100,000 in 9 months.

CIWM’s view


CIWM has said it welcomes the announcement from the government that Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) are to be increased to £1,000 to tackle the anti-social behaviour of fly-tipping to reflect the seriousness of this offence and to do justice to the polluter pays principle.

It continues that this announcement comes after the other welcomed change in the law brought about by the Environment Act 2021 removing the need to have the regulator present when a constable seizes a vehicle unlawfully carrying waste.

Reacting to the announcement, Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director, CIWM, said: “We are fully aware of the difficulty that some local authorities have encountered when prosecuting fly-tipping cases in court and seeking to secure a punishment commensurate with the offence.

A fine for fly-tipping should amount to over £3,600 but the average fine for 2020/2021 was just £335.

“Using the Environmental Offences Sentencing Guidelines and the national UK average earning, a fine for fly-tipping should amount to over £3,600 but the average fine for 2020/2021 was just £335. The £400 FPN does not discourage fly-tippers to dispose of their waste unlawfully because it is cheaper to pay the FPN than the associated disposal costs.

“This increase in penalty is likely to see a reduction in prosecutions but local authorities will still bring prosecutions, a decision we support, in the most serious cases, which could result in a criminal conviction and any avoided costs being added to the punishment from the court.”

Marshall continued that to avoid being the recipient of an FPN, householders should ensure that they only allow their waste to be removed by a licensed waste carrier (registration details can be checked on the public register).

Local authorities will be obliged to follow government guidance which stipulates that the power to issue an FPN should be used proportionately and FPNs should not be used as a means of raising money or for minor breaches, Marshall added.

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