(Title Image: Wales Online)
Believe it or not, but until yesterday the only way flytippers could be punished is if councils sought to prosecute offenders through the courts – a process said to cost each Welsh council £814, with the average award being just under £405. This is a disincentive for councils to take legal action against flytippers.
In 2015-16, only 52 cases (0.2%) of flytipping in Wales were taken to court out of 21,494 investigations.
That could be about to change.
Yesterday, the Senedd unanimously approved new regulations (pdf) – which come into force immediately – introducing on-the-spot fines for low-level flytipping. Over 90% of respondents approved of the new fines when the proposals went out for consultation in 2016. Similar measures were introduced in England last year also.
It means that:
- Flytippers could receive on-the-spot fines from local councils of anything between £150 and £400.
- Fines can be issued for flytipping on both public and private land.
- Councils will still be able to seek prosecution for more serious offences through the courts.
Environment Secretary, Lesley Griffiths (Lab, Wrexham) told AMs the new regulations would “help deal with those small-scale fly-tipping offences where a prosecution is considered disproportionate”.
The regulations were only passed as part of provisions in EU law, a point Simon Thomas AM (Plaid, Mid & West Wales) stressed that meant it was vital that powers currently held by the EU are devolved directly to Wales after Brexit.