ANYONE caught fly-tipping in North Hampshire could face the maximum fine of £400 under new proposals being considered by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Last year the Government gave local authorities the power to issue fixed penalty notices to offenders with a default level of £200, but allowed councils to set their own limit between £150 and £400.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council originally decided on a £200 fine, but is now contemplating raising the fixed penalty notice to the maximum amount.
If the proposals are voted through, offenders who respond within 10 days will have the fine reduced to £250.
Cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment, Hayley Eachus, said: “Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence.
“Our enforcement team thoroughly investigate all reported incidents of fly-tipping and the council will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who is found to be responsible for this dangerous and anti-social activity.”
Anyone ignoring the penalty notice will be prosecuted and could face an unlimited fine and up to five years in jail.
However, the council says it believes that, in certain circumstances, a penalty notice would be appropriate.
The council says the current level of fine does not send a strong enough message to the public that it views and treats fly-tipping seriously.
Nor does it reflect the council’s cost associated with the time involved in investigating and clearing the rubbish.
In the past 10 months, the council has issued seven penalty notices, with five already paid, bringing in revenue of £1,000.
West Berkshire Council spent nearly £30,000 in the last six months of 2016 clearing up 543 fly-tipping sites.
It represented an increase of 10 per cent from the first six months of 2016.
In July last year, Reading Borough Council introduced a permit scheme allowing only residents of the town to use the Smallmead recycling centre.
The scheme followed West Berkshire’s decision to withdraw an annual payment of £460,000 to Re3, which runs the facility.
In a tit-for-tat move, West Berkshire Council then introduced its own permit scheme, banning residents from Reading and Hampshire from using its own recycling facilities at Newtown Road, Newbury, and at Padworth.