Fly-tipping: Crime Prevention and Sentencing

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th July 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent fly-tipping on private land; and whether the Government plans to review sentencing guidelines for perpetrators of fly-tipping.

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

We appreciate the difficulty and cost that fly-tipping poses to landowners and we are working with a wide range of interested parties through the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group, including the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), to promote and disseminate good practice.

Our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy set out our strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime. This included a commitment to develop a fly-tipping toolkit. The toolkit will be a web-based tool to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle fly-tipping.

Budget 2020 allocated up to £2 million to support innovative solutions to tackle fly-tipping. In April 2021 we commissioned a research project considering the drivers, deterrents and impacts of fly-tipping. This research project is due to be completed before the end of this year and will support informed policy making. We are exploring additional funding opportunities, including the role of digital solutions.

We are also preparing a number of legislative reforms to tackle waste crime, which should 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. Digital records of waste movements will allow regulators to detect when waste doesn't reach the next stage, which may indicate illegal activity including fly-tipping.

We are bringing forward several measures in the Environment Bill to 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.

Sentencing guidelines are issued by the independent Sentencing Council for England and Wales, which decides its own work plan for developing/revising sentencing guidelines. The Sentencing Council has issued guidelines for environmental offences, which cover fly-tipping and other waste crimes. The Resources and Waste Strategy includes a commitment to work with the Sentencing Council to support any updates to the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline should a review be undertaken.

In recent years we have bolstered local authorities' powers to tackle fly-tipping. We have introduced the power to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £400 to both fly-tippers and householders who pass their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier. We have also increased local authorities' powers to stop, search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers.

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