To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the minimum fine for unlawfully depositing waste.
16 July 2021
There is currently no minimum fine set out in law for unlawfully depositing waste under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act.
Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the independent courts. When deciding what sentence to impose for unlawfully depositing waste, the court will take into account the circumstances of the offence and any aggravating and mitigating factors in line with the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline issued by the independent Sentencing Council for England and Wales. Where a court decides that a fine is the right sentence, the level of fine must reflect the seriousness of the offence and take into account the financial circumstances of the offender.
Instead of prosecuting, councils may choose to issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN). The value of an FPN needs to be high enough to act as a deterrent, but not too high so that offenders cannot, or choose not to, pay the penalty. Defra issued a call for evidence in 2015 prior to introducing a FPN for fly-tipping offences. The responses to the call for evidence, and further analysis, led to a default value of £200, a maximum value of £400, and a discounted minimum of £120. Similarly, in 2018 Defra consulted on introducing a FPN for householders who fail in their duty of care by passing their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier and which is then found fly-tipped. Almost three-quarters of respondents to the consultation felt that the proposed value of the FPN (discounted minimum value of £120, default value of £200 and maximum value of £400) was correct.