Councils asked if they actually use new fly-tipping powers

SWANSEA Council has not issued any new fly-tipping fines since adopting them last year because they have not been a good fit for the cases investigated.

Like many Welsh authorities, Swansea has new powers to fine smaller-scale fly-tippers to avoid the hassle of going to court while still acting as a deterrent.

Carmarthenshire Council and Neath Port Talbot Council have dished out 11 and 14 of these “fixed penalty notices” respectively since adopting them last year, but Swansea waste chiefs said it has not been necessary to use them as yet.

Swansea’s cabinet approved the use of the fixed penalty notices last June, setting a maximum limit of £400.

Speaking at the time councillor Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said of offenders: “If they do fly-tip and get fined, then they deserve it.”

Asked for an update, a spokesman for the authority said today: “Cases investigated during this time have been of such a size that the application of the £400 fixed penalty notices have not been appropriate, and have required stronger enforcement action through the court system.

“This has resulted in a successful prosecution last September, and we have a further case ongoing.”

The council has, however, dished out dozens of £100 fixed penalty notices under previously existing powers for lower-level cases such as abandoned black bags in streets. Failure to pay these has led to 22 successful prosecutions since last June.

The authority is urging people to ensure that anyone they use to take waste from their properties is a licensed waste carrier and that the rubbish is disposed at an appropriate site.

“We would also urge residents to report any cases of fly-tipping to us,” added the spokesman.

Carmarthenshire Council adopted the new powers last April, but set the maximum level at £350. Since then the authority has issued 11 of the fixed penalty notices, with some offenders paying within 10 days to get a discount.

Neath Port Talbot Council has handed out 14 £400 fixed penalty notices since gaining the powers last June.

This week Neath Port Talbot waste chiefs said they would start naming and shaming fly-tippers from March 1 onwards.

Cabinet member for streetscene and engineering, councillor Ted Latham said: “We are already the lead authority in Wales for catching fly-tippers but we now want them to know they will not only be prosecuted, they will also be identified to the public if they are caught fly-tipping in Neath Port Talbot and have been prosecuted for this.”

More than 35,000 incidents of fly-tipping are recorded every year in Wales, blighting the countryside and costing taxpayers more than £2 million.

The number of incidents has been falling in Swansea (1,766 in 2017/18) and Neath Port Talbot (1,056 in 2017/18) but rising in Carmarthenshire (2,939 in 2017/18) according to Welsh Government statistics, although what actually constitutes fly-tipping can vary.

The same statistics show 34 prosecutions by Neath Port Council in 2017/18, seven by Carmarthenshire Council and five by Swansea Council.

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