Festus Akinbusoye, the Conservative PCC Candidate at the May 6 elections has called for vehicles caught fly-tipping to be seized and crushed. This would be in addition to the fines currently issued by local authorities and the courts.
His vehement demand follows latest figures which show that nearly a million cases of fly-tipping were reported in England for the year 2019/20 according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
In Bedfordshire alone, 9,113 incidents were reported during this time, with the highest number of cases in Luton (6,190) and Bedford Borough (2,137).
Of the nearly one million cases nationally, there were 474,294 legal actions taken but only 41 resulted in a custodial sentence and just 471 vehicles were seized.
In Bedfordshire, only 3,200 cases resulted in action being taken, but no custodial sentences were issued and no vehicles seized. Fines were the most common outcome with amounts ranging from £50 to £500.
The data also estimates that clean-up costs on land under the responsibility of local authorities have cost councils around £60 million since 2012.
“Fly-tipping is fast becoming a drive-away crime,” said Festus Akinbusoye the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate.
“The fact that a vehicle used for fly-tipping is allowed back on the road is plainly wrong. It is unacceptable for a car that is, in effect, a tool used for committing a crime, to be given back to the offender,” he added.
“I would like to see our enforcement agencies in Bedfordshire not only fine these criminals, but also to seize their vehicles and put them under the crusher.”
The figures from DEFRA also show that household waste accounts for nearly half of all fly-tipped items. This includes house or shed clearances, old furniture, carpets and even waste from small scale DIY works.
In 2016, local authorities were given the power to issue fixed penalty fines and in 2019, householders became liable for fines if they gave waste to an unlicensed carrier.
Despite these changes, reported cases of fly-tipping have increased while enforcement has fallen. According to a recent BBC investigation there is evidence, however, that some licensed waste carriers are also breaking the law by fly-tipping.
This means unsuspecting residents are at risk of a fine if goods from their property are found to have been fly-tipped. The reality is that for a small fee licenses are easy to come by through the Environment Agencies website.
A worrying trend is the role of organised crime gangs dealing in waste carriage. Reports show they can set up a business, hire large warehouses, legitimately gain a licence but collect waste to dump in the warehouses before fleeing. Some illegally burn toxic waste material in open fields causing dangerous materials to be released into the local environment.
PCC Candidate Festus Akinbusoye further added: “Fly-tipping is not just an eyesore, it’s also a serious danger to our environment. The DEFRA figures don’t include fly-tipping that takes place on private land.
“This remains the responsibility of landowners to clear and the cost is considerable. Until we take drastic action such as crushing the vehicles involved, on top of fines, we will all keep paying this heavy price. We need to take action, now.”