TOUGHER sentences for fly-tippers should be ‘immediately’ brought in to deter criminals from blighting the borough after it was revealed just ONE person was prosecuted in a year - despite more than 4,000 incidents being reported to Barnsley Council.
Latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealed there were 4,404 fly-tipping incidents in Barnsley in the year to March 2023 - a slight decrease from 4,549 in 2021/22.
However, the Chronicle can confirm just 42 fixed penalty notices were issued from those reports - less than one per cent of the total - while just one person was convicted at court.
That person was Coban Wardle, of Roebuck Street, Wombwell, who pleaded guilty to a fly-tipping offence and carrying waste without a licence on eight occasions.
He was fined a total of £834 - £300 for the waste carrying offence, a £114 victim surcharge and £440 in costs - and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “It is time for the public and our justice system to say ‘enough is enough’ and tackle the selfish vandals who are trashing our environment for profit.
“The public can play their part by ensuring that they only give their unwanted ‘stuff’ to reputable, licensed waste carriers who will dispose of it correctly.
“Judges must help by using the considerable sentencing powers they have to order hefty fines and even jail fly-tippers when they are caught.
“Environmental crime is not a victimless crime - we are all victims of it.”
In Barnsley, most fly-tipped waste was discovered on council land, accounting for 34 per cent of recorded incidents, followed by 29 per cent in alleyways.
The largest proportion of discarded waste was household waste, making up 57 per cent of all incidents.
Data revealed that in the four months to the end of November, there were 357 reports of fly-tipping in the Kingstone ward followed by 191 incidents in the neighbouring Central ward.
They account for more than 30 per cent of the total recorded across Barnsley.
Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association, added: “Fly-tipping is inexcusable - it’s not only an eyesore for residents, but a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.
“This decrease in fly-tipping is positive and a testament to the hard work of councils.
“We continue to urge the government to review sentencing guidelines for fly-tipping, so that offenders are given bigger fines for more serious offences to act as a deterrent.
“Manufacturers should also contribute to the costs to councils of clear up, by providing more take-back services so people can hand in old furniture and mattresses when they buy new ones.”
More than £1.1m was spent by the council clearing up fly-tippers’ dumps from 2019 to 2022.
On-the-spot fines of £1,000 can be handed out by the council, while they can also seize vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping.
Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, said: “Barnsley Council takes a zero-tolerance stance on fly-tipping.
“Barnsley’s streets, parks and countryside are not rubbish bins for criminals to dump their waste.
“My message to fly-tippers is simple: we will fine you, we will seize and crush your vehicle and we will prosecute you.
“This year’s statistics highlight the progress we’re making in tackling this blight on our communities, with the number of fixed penalty notices issued to fly-tippers more than doubling over the past year.
“I would like to thank our teams for making this possible and residents for their continued support.
“Together, we will eradicate this appalling scourge on our beautiful borough.”