Express & Star comment: Fly-tippers are taking our money
Fly-tipping is a scourge on our streets and blights our neighbourhoods and precious countryside.
It is disgusting that this act of vandalism is on the rise, and costing taxpayers here more than £1m to clear up every year.
There can be no excuse for someone dumping their rubbish, no matter how small or large, in the street or in remote country lanes.
It is true that many councils have not helped the situation.
Tip opening tine hours have been slashed and costs to dispose of bulky and complex items have been hiked.
The axing in some places of weekly bin collections is proving to be a problem too.
But we cannot blame our town halls for the new wave in dumping of rubbish.
The responsibility for fly-tipping falls directly on the shoulders of those who blatantly flout the laws.
The consequences of fly-tipping are severe.
We have seen industrial scale dumping of rubbish in recent years – posing a real hygienic and environmentally hazardous risk to the public.
Councils are trying to do everything within their power.
But with all due respect, the new £400 fines that can be issued are derisory.
We need to be tougher.
It may sound extreme, but we are at breaking point.
Judges and local authorities need to show more of a backbone.
Fines of tens of thousands of pounds need to be brought in.
And for the worst offences a term in prison would be appropriate.
Fly-tippers do so because they either are trying to avoid costs, cut corners, or duck their responsibilities.
We need to demonstrate that this is no flippant matter.
It is not unreasonable to suggest that those who fly-tip are actually guilty of theft.
Theft of taxpayers' money and resources.
Just think what better use the £1 million annual bill in the Black Country and Staffordshire could be used for.
Across the country the clear-up bill could be as much as £1 billion.
That is money that is being deprived of our schools, hospitals, and care services.
Likewise, it is money that could be spent on tackling homelessness, fixing roads, or even inflation-linked pay rises for public servants.
Some may argue that society can't afford to tackle this issue. But the truth is we really can't afford not to.