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Criminal fly-tippers must be stopped from laughing at the law

By Greg Pitcher

Deafening calls for action to halt the rise of organised fly-tipping grew louder still this week as councils joined the chorus started by the recycling industry.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has demanded more money to fight illegal waste dumping and harsher punishments for offenders.

Criminal gangs are becoming increasingly involved in fly-tipping, costing councils millions of pounds and making recycling targets harder to meet.

Environmental Services Association chief executive Dirk Hazell said a radical overhaul of the way the crime is fought was vital.

The LGA backed Hazells call and insisted criminals must be stopped from laughing at the law and its enforcers.

The Government closed a consultation at the end of September that proposed increasing the maximum penalty for fly-tipping to £50,000, among other things.

LGA project officer Vanessa Goodchild-Bradley said: The LGA has replied to the consultation, welcoming all its proposals.

Fly-tipping is a real problem to many councils. Much is being done to tackle it, but a lot more needs to be done.

We would be in favour of an even higher maximum penalty, and would like to see fly-tipping become an arrestable offence.

At the moment, criminal gangs know they cannot be arrested at the scene unless they get abusive or aggressive.

They give false names and have unregistered vehicles these gangs are making a lot of money but covering their tracks quite easily.

Councils have felt quite limited about what they can do to tackle fly-tipping, we are hopeful the Clean Neighbourhoods Bill will make a difference.

LGA environment board chairman David Sparks added: Councils want to use the new enforcement powers but without additional funding to provide manpower and training, the Governments drive to create greener, cleaner neighbourhoods will be put at risk.

A run-down appearance is more than just an eyesore it can increase the fear of crime in an area, hamper economic regeneration and result in local people losing pride in where they live.

The fact remains that councils are facing a double whammy of squeezed funding for environmental services at the same time as a host of national and EU waste targets come into effect.

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