Fly-tipping

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th April 2021.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle fly-tipping in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry and (c) England; what (i) economic and (ii) other support he is providing to (A) local police forces and (B) local authorities to help tackle fly-tipping; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of fly-tipping in (1) Coventry North East constituency, (2) Coventry and (3) England.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Fly-tipping is a crime which blights local communities and the environment, and we are committed to tackling this unacceptable behaviour.

The role of central Government is to enable and support local action by providing a clear legal framework of rights, responsibilities and powers and setting national standards. Local authorities are responsible for keeping relevant public land (as defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990) clear of litter and refuse. We expect local authorities to investigate all incidents of fly-tipping, prosecute fly-tippers when there is sufficient evidence and recover clearance costs where possible.

Whilst the police may support multi-agency investigations into serious and organised incidents of waste crime, including fly-tipping, fly-tipping investigation and enforcement is the responsibility of local authorities, and the Environment Agency in certain circumstances.

Local authorities have flexibility in deciding how to allocate funding based on their local priorities. This year, Core Spending Power in England will rise by up to 4.6% in cash terms, from £49.0 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22.

For Coventry, this corresponds to an increase of up to £13.88 million, or 5.09%. This real-terms increase recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain critical services.

The Settlement is unringfenced to ensure local areas can prioritise based on their own understanding of the needs of their local communities.

In recent years we have bolstered local authorities’ powers to tackle fly-tipping, such as by introducing the power to issue fixed penalty notices and to stop and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. Our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy set out our strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime. We committed to strengthen sentences for fly-tipping and to develop a fly-tipping toolkit to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle this crime. We also committed to increasing penalties for fly-tipping in our manifesto.

Budget 2020 allocated up to £2 million to support innovative solutions to tackle fly-tipping. We launched an invitation to tender on 9 March 2021 for a research project considering the drivers, deterrents and impacts of fly-tipping. We are exploring additional funding opportunities and priorities, including considering the role of digital solutions.

We are also preparing a number of legislative reforms to tackle waste crime, which will help to tackle fly-tipping. We are taking forward the commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult later this year. We also intend to consult on the introduction of mandatory electronic waste tracking. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and to reduce the incidence of waste crime and fly-tipping.

The Environment Bill also includes several measures to help tackle waste crime. The Bill will ensure agencies and authorities can work more effectively to combat waste crime through better access to evidence and improved powers of entry. These new powers will help ensure waste criminals, such as illegitimate waste operators reliant on fly-tipping for income, are held accountable for their actions.

The Government has not made any assessment of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on trends of fly-tipping. However, Defra publishes annual fly-tipping statistics for England, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. Data for the period April 2020 to March 2021 will be published in due course.

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