Fly tips have effectively been decriminalized in many parts of the country because councils have given up on prosecuting offenders.
Three in five local authorities did not initiate any prosecution last year for the offense, while one in five did not issue a fixed penalty notice.
Illegal dumping hit a record 1.1 million cases in 2020/21, but the number of prosecutions and court fines halved over the same period – with just two in 1,000 violations resulting in a penalty .
Activists warn criminal gangs have rushed into the lucrative industry, targeting tips that do nothing “because they know they can steal tips with impunity.”
Data obtained from 251 counsel in access to information requests revealed that 150 did not prosecute any individuals while 50 did not issue any fixed penalty notices – which were intended to facilitate the punishment of criminals. .
In 30 local communities, there were no prosecutions or fines, meaning that fly tips were effectively decriminalized.
Mountain of Garbage: Garbage dumped illegally in Mill Hill, North London. Activists warn criminal gangs now know they “can steal with impunity”
According to figures released by the Ministry of Environment and Rural Affairs this week, the number of flat-rate fine notices issued last year fell by a quarter to 57,600, while the number of court fines halved to 1,313.
The total value of the fines has dropped by two-thirds to £ 440,000, the equivalent of 39 pence per tip.
Warwick District Council was one of 30 councils that failed to prosecute or impose fines, despite disbursing £ 111,058 to clean up 1,680 fly spill incidents – more than four per day.
Eastleigh Borough Council in Hampshire spent £ 85,000 of taxpayers’ money cleaning up 1,179 landfills, but also did not impose fines or prosecute.
Winchester City Council received video evidence of a dumpster dumping garbage, but declined to investigate because “the offenders did not authorize the filming.”
Last year he imposed just six fines and prosecuted two offenders. Freedom of Information requests were filed for ClearWaste, an application that allows households to log illegal garbage dumps.
Horror: Surrey site still attracts dump trucks
ClearWaste Founder Martin Montague said: “The dumping of flies is a substantial plague on rural society. The fact that so many local authorities are not fining or prosecuting any garbage criminals is appalling.
The pandemic has seen offenses skyrocket because city councils have been closed, while many households have undertaken renovations. There are also fears that less frequent garbage collection will encourage fly spills.
If the cases get to court, serious crimes are punished with fines of less than £ 1,000, which equates to a day’s work for a dumpster criminal.
The pandemic has seen offenses skyrocket because city councils have been closed, while many households have undertaken renovations. Less frequent garbage collection is also feared to encourage fly spills.
While the Environment Agency is responsible for investigating organized waste crime and larger illegal dumps, the councils are responsible for prosecuting fly spills on roadsides and on farmland.
The government has also been accused of overstating the official response. He recently claimed that councils carried out 456,000 “enforcement actions” last year – but admitted that this includes cases that are simply “registered” or for which “action is under consideration.”
Robert Goodwill, Commons environmental audit committee curator and farmer, said: “Boards need to take this more seriously. We need punitive fines and, in the worst case, jail time to deter people from dropping flies. The fine must adequately reflect the profits made by the criminals in terms of waste.
Purification: The landfill near Ludlow. While the Environment Agency is responsible for investigating organized waste crime and larger illegal dumps, the councils are responsible for prosecuting fly spills on roadsides and on farmland.
Duncan Baker, Conservative MP for North Norfolk, said: “We can’t turn a blind eye to this. This kind of anti-social and environmental crime is eroding the sense of pride and dignity in a place people call home.
Sarah Lee, of the Countryside Alliance, called the law enforcement figures “incredibly worrying.” She said, “Fly tippers, acting alone or as members of an organized criminal gang, must know that their selfish actions will result in severe punishment.”
David Renard, Local Government Association, said: “The councils continue to work tirelessly to address the thousands of incidents each year.
“However, prosecutions require a high standard of proof and, even when found guilty, the fines currently imposed by the courts do not act as a deterrent.
“Fly spills currently cost local taxpayers at least £ 50million a year to clean up, but until the fine matches the crime the burden will continue to fall on residents.”
The councils of Winchester and Eastleigh have been contacted for comment. Warwick District Council declined to comment.
The law lets taxpayers foot the bill
A legal row has failed to bring those responsible for a mega-dumping ground in Surrey to justice.
The landowner was fined in 2018 but claimed he was unable to stop criminal dump trucks from leaving trash including 66 cars and trailers near Pirbright.
Guildford Borough Council ultimately spent £ 180,000 to dispose of 225 tonnes of trash, but this week there was still a huge pile of it on the site.
Meanwhile, company manager Jonathan Wells, 39, has been fined just £ 1,272 for abandoning a massive rubbish dump in Shropshire.
His land near Ludlow became a spill hotspot and ultimately cost £ 45,000 to clean up in 2018 after his business, LMS Skips went bankrupt.
Wells pleaded guilty to two offenses before Worcester Magistrates, with each £ 636 fine being around double the cost of hiring a skip.