Magistrates need to support community’s efforts to deter flytippers
Published: Wednesday 12th September 18
The council’s environmental protection spokesman Steffi Sutters is calling on local magistrates to treat flytipping cases more seriously and impose effective deterrent sentences after a resident was given “a tiny slap on the wrist” for dumping a large pile of waste in a local beauty spot.
Cllr Sutters said she was “very disappointed” at the sentence handed down to Putney resident Tauqir Butt who dumped a pile of rubbish in picturesque Putney Park Lane – a quiet unpaved road in West Putney that is largely unchanged since the 19th Century.
The flytip included a carpet, microwave, a folding bed, plastic laundry baskets and more than a dozen black binbags.
Mr Butt's pile of waste
Although Mr Butt, who lives in nearby Cortis Road admitted breaching the Environmental Protection Act 1990 magistrates at Lavender Hill decided not to impose a financial penalty. Instead he was given a six month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and just £60 towards the council’s prosecution costs – which had run into several hundred pounds.
Anyone convicted in a magistrates court of flytipping offences under the EPA is liable to an unlimited fine and/or a jail term of up to five years.
After the case Cllr Sutters said: “I’m afraid that many local people, myself included, will view this as an inadequate and unsatisfactory outcome.
“This was a dreadful flytip of junk and other household waste that will have caused a great deal of distress and upset to residents of the lane. Given these circumstances I would have expected the magistrates to have handed down a stiffer sentence than this.
“The council is doing its best to combat flytipping. We issue hundreds of on-the-spot fines each year to people and businesses who break litter laws but when we come across a serious offence like this we believe it should be dealt with by the courts, which have the powers to impose effective deterrent sentences.
“Sadly this has not happened here and instead Mr Butt has been given little more than a tiny slap on the wrist.
Cllr Sutters is calling on the courts to treat cases like this more seriously
“We will of course continue to target those who cause environmental damage to our community and hope that in future magistrates will view these cases with the gravity they deserve and reflect the public’s very deep concern about this type of crime.”
Residents wanting rubbish cleared can have it removed by the council for a modest fee. To book a collection call (020) 8871 8558 or visit http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/specialcollections. If households choose a licensed private contractor instead they must ask for a proper receipt.
People having work done on their properties should always check with their builders and any other contractors precisely how they will be disposing of any waste materials. They should be extremely wary of people knocking on their doors unannounced and offering to take away their rubbish.
Cowboy waste contractors often drive around residential areas looking for homes that are being refurbished or cleared. They will approach the owner and offer to take “junk” away for a cut price rate.
But instead of taking it to a proper waste disposal site and paying the appropriate fees, they simply dump it somewhere nearby – often in parks or other open spaces – leaving taxpayers to foot the clean-up bill. In these cases it is not just the flytipper wo is committing a crime – the householder who paid them to take their waste away is also liable under the law.
Anyone with information about rubbish being dumped in the borough should telephone (020) 8871 6396. All calls will be treated in confidence. Information can also be provided via email at firstname.lastname@example.org