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Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent countering fly tipping measures in each of the last five years. (267818)

Action and enforcement against fly-tipping is taken by local authorities and the Environment Agency.

Through the former BREW (Business Resource Efficiency and Waste) programme, DEFRA has given the Environment Agency £1.5 million each year for the last four years. This has been spent on a wide range of environmental crime-related work which includes anti fly-tipping measures. The Environment Agency also receives grant in aid from DEFRA for a range of environmental work and enforcement activities.

In 2008-09 DEFRA gave Encams (“Keep Britain Tidy”) £95,000, in addition to its grant, to fund a range of activities to support local authorities in tackling fly-tipping. In recent years, DEFRA has also funded a range of research projects which have to varying degrees addressed the issue of fly-tipping.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle fly-tipping; and if he will make a statement; (267816)

(2) what recent guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on (a) prevention and (b) clean-up of fly-tipping.

The Government are taking steps on a number of fronts to help local authorities and the Environment Agency tackle fly-tipping, an antisocial activity which can blight both urban and rural areas.

DEFRA's illegal waste activity action plan, as set out in the England Waste Strategy 2007, aims to reduce fly-tipping through better prevention, detection and risk-based enforcement. The main measures are:

new powers for local authorities and the Environment Agency to instantly seize vehicles that are involved in waste crime, implementing a power established by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. These powers are scheduled to be introduced later this year and should act as an effective deterrent, as well as helping regulators to build more effective prosecutions;

improving the waste carrier registration system and promoting—through more user friendly guidance—the waste duty of care so that the law around carrying waste is better understood by businesses and easier for authorities to enforce;

funding of the Environment Agency's Waste Crime Innovation Programme which is developing and testing new techniques for tackling waste crime.

There are various sources of support, advice and guidance on fly-tipping available to local authorities:

DEFRA is funding Encams (“Keep Britain Tidy”) to offer bespoke advice to local authorities requiring assistance with their anti-fly-tipping strategies. Forty authorities received this assistance in 2008-09 and further funding is now in place to assist additional authorities in the coming year. This will be supported by a CD-Rom, being distributed to local authorities during April 2009, which offers authorities a single source of information on legal, detection and enforcement issues around fly-tipping, as well as best practice case studies.

DEFRA also funded the Environment Agency to develop the Flycapture Enforcement training programme which aims to help local authorities to take appropriate enforcement action in response to fly-tipping incidents. Training courses, delivered by Encams and the Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM), are available around the country.

The fly-tipping protocol sets out the circumstances in which either a local authority or the Environment Agency deals with a particular incident and is supported by various other guidance documents linked to the Flycapture database.