Surrey Environment Partnership calls for tougher legal action on fly-tippers

The Surrey Environment Partnership (SEP), together with over 150 local authorities and 10 professional bodies, is calling on the Sentencing Council to consider tougher fines and sentences for fly-tipping offenders.

As part of a proposed review of the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline (2014), SEP, working in partnership with a range of local authorities and professional bodies covering Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk and Warwickshire, is calling for tougher action against those who commit this awful crime.

Currently, sentences handed down do not always match the severity of the offence committed or fairly reflect the costs incurred by the public purse. This means that punishment for the offence of fly-tipping does not act as a suitable deterrent.

The Sentencing Council is being asked to consider changes that would mean:

  • Court fines would exceed the cost of Fixed Penalty Notice fines and would include costs incurred by the public purse and the police in bringing a fly-tipper to court.
  • Costs related to the clean-up of fly-tipping on private land and restoration of that land would be included in fines paid by those who are prosecuted.
  • When deciding the level of fine, fly-tipping would be looked at by the court as an offence first, and not at the person and their ability to pay first. It has been suggested that means testing should be used to ascertain what type of fine(s) to give, and never how much should be paid.
  • If a defendant cannot pay the fine in full, or in part, it is strongly recommended that community-based sentences are more widely used and available across all offence categories.
  • More use of suspended prison sentences, which has been proven to be a strong deterrent to serial fly-tipping offenders in Buckinghamshire.
  • Anyone convicted of a second fly-tipping offence is given a custodial sentence rather than another suspended sentence.

For more information on fly-tipping in Surrey, visit the fly-tipping section of our website.