Fly-tippers facing £400 fine in new fixed penalty plan
Fly-tippers could be fined up to £400 under new fixed penalty powers proposed for councils.
Environment Minister Edwin Poots has accepted plans by Stormont’s environment committee to increase the maximum fine for fly-tipping as proposed in the forthcoming Waste and Contaminated Land Bill from £200 to £400.
At present, councils have powers to impose fixed penalties for minor littering offences such as discarding crisp packets or cigarette butts, while major criminal cases of illegal dumping are pursued through the courts by the Department of the Environment.
But the law as it stands leaves a vacuum in which those who dump rubbish often get away scot-free, because councils can only prosecute them by pursuing a costly case through the courts.
The new plans for fixed penalties will make it easier for councils to prosecute the fly-tippers and recover the cost of clearing up the mess they have left, according to environment committee chairman Cathal Boylan.
Last year councils in Northern Ireland spent almost £100,000 a day clearing up street litter.
“The committee has worked with the department to ensure the level of fines applied to illegal dumping are appropriate,” he said.
“The committee is supportive of councils being given the same powers as the DoE to deal with the illegal dumping of waste.
“However, we believe it is essential that an appropriate protocol is in place before these powers are given.”
Mr Boylan said it is vital that the level of fine remains appropriate and is calling for an amendment to the Bill that would require any fine increase plans to be brought to the Assembly for debate.