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Council backs heavier fines for littering and fly-tipping

11th December 2013

The Highland Council is fully backing plans by the Scottish Government to increase fixed penalties for littering and fly-tipping but wants to see more robust action taken against contractors who try to avoid landfill costs by dumping materials indiscriminately.

It agrees that the penalty for littering should rise to 80 and the penalty for fly-tipping should increase to 200, penalties which are due to take effect from 1 April, next year.

However, on top of the fine for fly-tipping, the Council believes the rogue fly-tippers should also pay for the cost incurred by the Council of cleaning up the mess they leave.

The Council has recently been involved in attempts to locate and prosecute fly-tippers engaged in the construction of new drives. Each piece of work earns the contractor significant income.

Councillor Graham Phillips, Chair, Transport Environmental and Community Services, deems the term fly-tipping as a trivial description for contraventions of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 S. 33.

He said: We have been involved in attempts to locate and prosecute fly-tippers, engaged in the construction of new drives. Each piece of work earns the contractor significant income. We believe that the penalty should be applied at a rate equivalent to a loss in the overall transaction. Therefore, if fly-tipping saves an individual business 1,000 in disposal costs then the penalty should be commensurate with clean up costs plus the punishment.

He added: We need to ensure that we fully enforce a crackdown on littering and fly-tipping. Procurators Fiscal should take more cases to court and penalties must reflect public expectation the penalty must be greater than the gain.

For householders, a penalty of 200 would be appropriate for fly-tipping a bed, for example, given this could be disposed of free of charge.

The Council says the national strategy should incorporate a specific view on how enforcement should deal with school age children. It believes a distinct approach should be adopted for 12-16 year old litterers and enforcement should also be developed outwith the strategy.

Councillor Phillips concluded: The Council will play its part in both education and enforcement and will work with its partners to reduce the blight of litter and fly-tipping.

 

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