FLY-TIPPERS will face penalties totalling £400 under new plans for the town.

The council’s cabinet is expected to approve setting the fixed penalty notice (FPN) amount for an offence to £400 at its meeting on Monday.

However, it would be reduced to £300 if paid within 10 days.

The rate aims to reflect the ‘harm’ caused by fly-tipping, as well as the ‘true cost’ to the Labour-run authority of investigating such incidents.

In her report, Cllr Judith Guthrie, cabinet member for environment and public protection, told members fly-tipping is punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months in prison on conviction, although ‘there are often differences’ in the scale or level of offending.

She added: “Fly-tipping offences are committed by householders, businesses and waste operators.

“Householders who fly-tip disregard the impact of their actions on their neighbours and take no responsibility for the proper management of their own waste.

“While significant penalties exist for offenders found guilty of fly-tipping, and costs incurred by councils pursuing prosecution can be recovered, the financial burden and resource commitments often outweigh the benefits and do not always provide a sufficient deterrent.

“The FPN provision introduces a less costly option to deal with fly-tipping incidents than the conventional route of prosecuting offenders in courts, although in the more serious cases or in cases where the recipient of an FPN fails to pay the penalty, prosecution still remains an option.”

The problem which has blighted communities across the borough was also discussed during the organisational improvement and development policy committee meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday.

Cllr John Kerr-Brown said there are often problems with identifying the owner of land where waste has been dumped.

He added: “I just wondered is there anything in the system that could clearly identify who owns what, so people can be signposted to the right organisation?”

Gareth Hopkins, the council’s deputy director of corporate services, told him a ‘mapping solution’ is planned to be introduced specifically for that issue, along with aiming to eliminate time ‘wasted’ investigating such matters.

He said the plan aims to identify land owners ‘there and then’, adding that it involves one ‘mapping solution’ but two different software products.