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Clean Neighbourhoods bill made law

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act has become law after receiving Royal Assent.

There had been fears that the bill, which aims to tackle fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles, would be abandoned after the Prime Minister dissolved parliament for a general election on May 5.

Instead, it was among a select clutch of papers made law at the eleventh hour after politicians fast-tracked it through the remaining stages of the parliamentary process.

The Act increases the maximum jail term for fly-tipping to five years.

This opens the way for illegal dumping to become an arrestable offence, as UK law only allows suspected criminals to be arrested for offences carrying prison sentences of five years or more.

The Act also allows local authorities to remove abandoned vehicles from the streets immediately, as well as giving councils and the Environment Agency stop, search and seizure powers of vehicles suspected of being used in fly-tipping.

Local Government Association (LGA) Environment Board chairman David Sparks said: "Environmental crime consistently tops polls of residents' concerns and the LGA has long argued that legislation, enforcement and penalties need to reflect its corrosive effects on our communities.

"This new act will enable quicker and more effective enforcement that will deter offenders and demonstrate that a clean, safe and green local environment is as much a priority for the council and local agencies as it is for residents and businesses."

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