Agenda item

Review of Fly Tipping Enforcement and Environmental Fixed Penalty Notice Fees


Executive considered a detailed report which provided an update on the work of the Environmental Health Service in relation to fly tipping enforcement, and also to present options for revising fixed penalty fine levels for environmental offences.


The current fixed penalty fines for various environmental offences had remained the same in the District for a number of years.  New offences such as fly tipping and householder duty of care had been added as legislation had been updated, along with a Public Space Protection Order, which added new dog related offences to the pre-existing dog fouling offence.  This had resulted in some inconsistencies with the fixed penalty fine levels both in the significance of offences and in comparison with neighbouring authorities.


Table 1 in the report showed benchmarking of fixed penalty fine levels for matters the Joint Environmental Health Service enforced.  It also showed the range within which the Council could set a fixed penalty fine in accordance with the legislation.


The report recommended that the fixed penalty fine levels for environmental offences in Table 1 of the report be adopted by the Council.   These changes would bring parity between fly tipping and business waste duty of care offences, which were closely linked, while keeping fines for householders and smaller less serious offences more affordable.  It would also bring the litter and fly tipping fixed penalty in line with neighbouring authorities and to the middle of the potential range, where it was paid early.


Although these levels were considered appropriate to the area, they would be reviewed in 12 months’ time to understand the effect the changes may have had on offending and payment rates and whether there was a need to increase the levels further. 


To mitigate against fines not being paid, an early payment reduction was proposed for littering and fly tipping, as these fines would be at their maximum.  Without this, and whilst this sent a clear message about how serious the Council viewed these offences, they remained high and potentially unaffordable.  This would then push more cases to the Courts resulting in higher costs to the Council for relatively minor offences.


More serious and repeat offences, along with cases where the fixed penalty was not paid, would always be forwarded to Court for a prosecution or a civil recovery process in line with the Council’s enforcement policies. 


Moved by Councillor Duncan McGregor and seconded by Councillor Liz Smyth

RESOLVED that (1) the performance in relation to fly tipping enforcement be noted,


(2) the fixed penalty fine levels as recommended in Table 1 of the report be set,


(3) the Joint Assistant Director – Environmental Health, to carry out a review in 12 months on the impact of the changes to the fixed penalty fine levels.


(Assistant Director – Environmental Health)


Reasons for Recommendation

Adjusting the fixed penalty amounts ensures the Council is keeping pace with national legislative changes and ensures fixed penalty amounts act as a suitable punishment for the offence, as well as ensuring they are affordable for smaller, less serious offences.


The increases to some of these fixed penalty amounts also demonstrates the Council’s commitment to tackling environmental crime.


Allowing early payment reductions to £100 and £300 for littering and fly tipping offences respectively enables a higher penalty than currently but enables a discount for early admission of offences, encourages earlier payment and the reduced burden on the Council for follow up enforcement.


Alternative Options and Reasons for Rejection

In the financial year 2020/21, 70% of environmental fixed penalty notices were paid.  It would be possible to increase penalty amounts to the maximum levels without any discount, however, this would be likely to result in lower payment rates and more cases being progressed to a criminal court.  This places additional resource burdens on the Authority without receiving the resulting fines handed down at court.


It is also possible to keep the fixed penalty amounts at their current levels. That, however, would mean that fixed penalties for some offences are lower than those for similar issues, simply because the penalty amount was not set when the legislation came into effect.



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