DESPITE prescriptive legislation against flyingtipping and local efforts to enforce it, the problem continues undeterred.

Destructive to the environment, damaging to the appeal of local attractions and costly both to the local Council and to private landowners, this pernicious practice must be checked.

Contrary to popular belief, there have always been adequate laws to tackle fly-tipping.

In fact, there are wide reaching offences to tackle this and rightly so.

The offences can be found in S33 Environmental Protection Act and they do not only catch the person who deposits waste.

Also captured are those who either instruct them to do it or turn a blind eye to the risk that they may.

Anybody who produces waste has a duty of care under S34 of the Environment Protection Act to ensure it is disposed of properly and this duty applies to householders and business alike. The law even extends to the registered keeper of a vehicle that is used in the course of fly-tipping.

Further, the penalties are severe. Custodial sentences are often imposed and offenders made to pay courts costs and compensation in the sum of the cost of rectifying the waste.

The registered keeper of any vehicle used in this enterprise is liable to lose their licence and have their vehicle forfeit.

What is required is that the community come together to make reports, gather evidence and be willing fearlessly to support prosecutions.

The difficulty lies not in the absence of law but the absence of proof.

Prosecutions cannot be mounted without the evidence of witnesses.

Local council CCTV cameras that appear to be everywhere are, in fact, not.

Many more areas are covered by private CCTV which would be useful to the authorities. Also, while CCTV can gather any evidence within their reach, witnesses can often provide greater evidence that is essential to secure convictions.

Those who place profit before integrity must face a realistic chance of conviction, forfeiture of their assets and loss of their liberty. Only then can this blight upon our community be reduced.


Jo Morris