Fly-Tippers To Have Vehicles Seized Without Warrant
Law change targets cowboy waste management firms
Suspected fly-tippers could have their vehicles seized by council enforcement officers acting without a warrant if a proposed law change comes into force in spring 2015.
The law currently demands that enforcement officers seek a warrant from a magistrate before seizing a vehicle identified as having been used by someone to illegally dump waste.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has now launched a process of consultation into measures to reduce the time and cost of seizing vehicles, including removing the necessity for a vehicle seizure warrant and a notice in a local newspaper.
Under the proposed new legislation for England and Wales, a vehicle seized by a council enforcement officer could be impounded for 30 days while the alleged offence is investigated.
During this time, evidence to clear or convict the fly-tipper can be obtained.
Those ultimately found guilty of fly-tipping can be imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to £50,000.
In 2013, councils recorded 852,000 fly-tipping incidents in England. The cost of removal was £4m. The new law targets cowboy firms that – rather than pay to dispose of rubbish at recycling centres – dump it roadside for free.
This saving enables them to undercut legitimate competition.
Private offenders can also be punished via the new law.
Peter Box, of the Local Government Association, said: “Giving councils tougher penalties will allow them to tackle this criminal activity head-on. It is inexcusable and unacceptable for anyone to dump waste illegally, and councils know how much people hate seeing this sort of vandalism.”
To report a large amount of fly-tipped rubbish – above 20 cubic metres or 18 tonnes – call the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.
For smaller volumes contact the local council.
Views are being sought on the proposed legislation change on the Defra website.
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