Government proposals which would enable local authorities to seize, without a warrant, vehicles suspected or found to be fly-tipping, are set to be backed by Birmingham City Council tomorrow (21 January 2015).
Currently, under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, authorities can seize vehicles suspected of fly-tipping, but must get a warrant from magistrates authorising the action: this is only possible where there is no registered keeper listed with the DVLA, or no known owner.
The cityâ€™s Licensing and Public Protection Committee are set to agree their response to Defraâ€™s consultation, which would give officers new powers to search, seize and dispose of vehicles in relation to four offences:
- Fly-tippingÂ (Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989)
- Failing to demonstrate a duty of care with respect to waste (Environmental Protection Act 1993)
- Transporting or transferring waste without a Waste Carriers PermitÂ (Environmental Protection Act 1993)
- Operating a regulated waste disposal unit without a permit or operating in other than accordance with an Environmental Permit.
Under the proposed new regulations â€“ The Control of Waste (Dealing with Seized Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 â€“ officers could be more proactive in tackling environmental crime, which would help save money previously used to investigate and prosecute offenders.
Vehicles seized that remain unclaimed by their owners or registered keepers within 15 days could, under the proposed powers, be sold by local authorities, the proceeds of which could be used to offset any costs involved in clearing up fly-tipping.
Additionally, under these proposals, the Environment Agency will be able to keep a seized vehicle for 30 days for their investigations, so the committeeâ€™s response to Defra will request that local authorities can retain vehicles for the same period.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city councilâ€™s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: â€œFly-tipping blights neighbourhoods and can also attract anti-social behaviour, such as arson â€“ it costs landowners and councils millions of pounds a year in clean-up costs.
â€œNo one fly-tips by accident, If you dump rubbish then I would support any legal penalty that would dissuade the minority that blight our streets from doing this.
â€œAt a time when local authorities are having to tighten their belts, new powers that could enable officers to tackle these offences more proactively, are to be welcomed.â€
The consultation on the proposed regulations opened on 15 December 2014 and will close on 3 February 2015.
For more details of the Defra consultation, visit: