Fly-tippers caught illegally dumping waste could now face £300 on-the-spot fines.
The government introduced new legislation in May which gives councils powers to impose fines ranging from £150 to £400 on those caught illegally dumping waste.
Now Leeds City Council’s director for environment and housing has approved the use of £300 fines under the Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016.
In 2012/13 Leeds City Council spent £216,341 cleaning up after fly-tippers. In 2014/15 that figure had risen to £743,398. Last year there were more than 12,000 incidents of fly-tipping but few offenders faced the courts after being caught.
A report to the council’s director of environment and housing states that the courts can fine fly-tipping offenders up to £50,000 and sentence them to five years in prison.
The report adds: “In reality, the average fines are much lower. Since 2013, Leeds City Council has presented 97 cases to court for incidents of fly-tipping with average fines in the region of £450. Whilst costs are usually awarded, it is rare that they actually cover the cost incurred by the authority and presenting the case at court. The Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016 introduce another enforcement tool in the form of a fixed penalty notice. These can be issued when an authorised officer has reason to believe that a person has committed a waste deposit offence within the areas of their authority.”
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for environment and sustainability, said: “Our streets and public spaces are not unofficial dumping grounds for people who are not getting rid of their waste through the proper channels. Paying to remove illegally dumped waste removes money from being spent on better things elsewhere and harms our city.”