Keep Britain Tidy pushes for Fixed Penalty Notices 03 June 2015
Between 26 February and 6 May 2015, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) conducted a consultation, seeking views on enhancing enforcement powers and other measures to tackle waste crime and poor performance in England and Wales. 
 
As one of the stakeholders affected by the proposed changes to the current legislation, Keep Britain Tidy submitted its response to the consultation, focusing on the call for evidence in relation to fixed penalty notices (FPN) for fly tipping.
 
In its response, Keep Britain Tidy strongly advocates the introduction of a FPN for fly tipping. It is suggested that a fine of £1,000, discharging liability to criminal conviction if paid within 28 days, would be appropriate. A possible reduction to £500 for early payment within 14 days could also be offered by authorities adopting an early payment approach. Members have indicated over a number of years the problems they incur in dealing with waste crime and the limited powers available to them to target this antisocial behaviour. The key advantage of such a manoeuvre would be to provide a mechanism that authorities can readily use to tackle fly- tipping as currently the options available are limited.

FPN’s for fly-tipping would bridge the gap between a low level FPN and a penalty that adequately reflects the seriousness of this criminal activity. Currently DEFRA guidance advocates that any fly-tip larger than one black sack will constitute a Section 33 Environmental Protection Act 1990 (“EPA”) offence. Some authorities choose to deal with fly-tipped waste by issuing a FPN for littering under the provisions of Section 87 of the EPA. This FPN attracts a maximum penalty of £75.00, which is clearly not an appropriate penalty for what constitutes fly- tipped waste but on balance does not warrant the effort and cost of preparing a s.33 prosecution. The introduction of a FPN for fly-tipping will serve to help resolve this issue.
 
In addition, current measures available to punish fly tippers, such as the duty of care or waste carriers licence provisions, are not prohibitive enough and therefore do not discourage repeat offenders. Further, it is not always suitable or appropriate to apply duty of care or waste carriers licence Regulations. In light of this, the provision of a FPN specifically for fly-tipping with a higher cost to reflect the serious nature of the offending would be highly desirable.
 
As well as acting as a deterrent to offenders, FPN’s would have the knock on effect of leading to a reduction in the costs associated with investigating and preparing a prosecution case. The cost to authorities for the clear up of waste will also be reduced, and therefore leave more money available for funding other local services.  The introduction of FPNs would greatly assist authorities that can often be hesitant in bringing prosecutions due to associated costs and uncertain outcomes. FPNs would also benefit businesses in the waste industry by supporting legitimate waste operators in the locality, reducing the level of waste crime that undercuts businesses.