July 2005

Officials welcome new measures to clean up neighborhoods

London— Local authorities have gained greater powers to tackle fly-tipping and litter, as the first raft of measures in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act comes into force.

From June 7, fly-tipping will become an arrestable offence, with the most serious cases resulting in a maximum £50,000 fine or five years imprisonment.

Those caught illegally dumping waste will also no longer be able to use the defence of ‘acting under employer’s instructions’.

The new hard-line approach underpins the Government’s commitment to tackle fly-tipping, as new figures showed that an incident is occurring every 35 seconds in the UK.

The Act also reminds people that chewing gum and cigarette butts are litter, with penalties accordingly. Local Environment Minister, Ben Bradshaw, said: “Gum droppers and smokers chucking away cigarette butts can be given on the spot fines of £50, which will soon go up to £75. So why risk being fined when it’s so easy just to pop the butt or your gum in the bin?”

He explained that the littering offences have also been extended to include all open spaces - rivers, lakes, ponds and private property - in the past it was not an offence to drop litter on other people’s property.

“The new rules will give Local Authorities more power to tackle environment crime, and make everyone think about the environment around them. So I hope they will use these new powers to deter people from dropping anything, anywhere at any time.”

In addition to litter and fly-tipping, the parts of the act that come into force give extra powers for Local Authorities to deal with the sale or repair of vehicles on the road as part of a business and fly-posting. Mr Bradshaw added that he hoped to bring the majority of the remaining measures of the Act in to force by April 2006.

For additional information, visit defra.gsi.gov.uk/environment/localenv/legbill/index.htm.


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