NEW guidelines for fly-tipping will be used in all Somerset courts from July 1 and it could mean far higher penalties for the worst offenders.
National guidelines for fly-tipping and other environmental crimes have been drawn up by the Sentencing Council after a review found fines were too low in some cases and did not reflect the gravity of the offences committed.
The new guidelines could lead to jail terms and penalties of up to £3million for the most serious cases, with lower level criminals facing fines or community sentences.
Sentencing Council member and magistrate Katharine Rainsford said the guidelines “ensure sentences hit offenders in their pocket” as “these crimes are normally about making or saving money at the expense of the taxpayer”.
She added: “They also undermine law-abiding businesses in the waste management industry who are contributing to economic growth.
“Illegal disposal of hazardous waste not only causes damage to the environment but puts people’s health at risk.”
The new guidelines apply in England and Wales to people aged 18 and older and organisations sentenced on or after July 1, 2014, regardless of the date of the offence.
Sedgemoor District Council has invested in extra equipment, additional warning signs, newspaper adverts, close police liaison, and further training for enforcement officers.
Details of all recycling sites can be found at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk