CLA East says people caught illegally dumping rubbish in the countryside should be handed stiffer penalties after it was revealed that more than a third of people thought it was acceptable to fly-tip waste.
Research commissioned by Keep Britain Tidy, showed that 36 per cent of people think it is acceptable to get rid of an unwanted sofa or mattress in a way that is, legally, classed as fly-tipping, while 47 per cent of people don’t know they’re responsible in law if their waste is fly-tipped by a third party.
CLA East regional director Ben Underwood said: “We need to use the full force of the law to punish people who think it is acceptable to dump their rubbish in the countryside or on private farm land.
“An example should be made of offenders so that others can see that it is simply not worth dumping rubbish illegally – it will also serve as a way of educating people of how to dispose of their waste lawfully and responsibly. Ignorance of the law should be no excuse.
“At the present time the fines are totally inadequate. One man who dumped three loads of building waste on to one of our member’s land was sent to court and fined just £600 – it cost our member more than that to dispose of it.
“The maximum fine is £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates’ Court, but this is never enforced – if it was, it may well put people off.
“Regulations were also brought into force last year allowing vehicles to be seized for a range of offences, including fly-tipping, and we need these penalties to be rigorously enforced across the eastern region in order to force home the message this anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
“MPs need to take note of this blight on our countryside and put pressure on the courts to enforce a much higher penalty to those that flaunt the law. There is no deterrent if the fines imposed are going to cost criminals less than disposing of the rubbish legally.”