NEW powers to tackle fly-tipping in Torfaen will see the local authority issue fixed penalty notices of £400 to people caught illegally disposing of waste.

It will allow the council to tackle certain low-level cases of fly-tipping and the penalty will be paid directly to Torfaen, as per new legislation from the Welsh Government.

Cllr Fiona Cross, the executive member for the environment, approved the measure on Wednesday.

As part of the action, there is an early repayment discount of £350 rather than £400, if the notice is paid within 10 days of issue.

By setting the rate at £400, it provides a consistent penalty to offenders and is similar to fines and costs issued by courts for like offences.

“Fly-tipping blights our communities and it damages our environment,” said Andrew Long and David Thompson, both from Torfaen’s public protection team, in the report.

“These powers will provide local authorities with an additional enforcement tool for small-scale fly-tipping offences where a prosecution is considered disproportionate.

“The ability to issue fixed penalty notices will not solve the problem of fly-tipping, nor lead to a significant increase in successful enforcement activity, but it is a positive step in tackling an issue that has an impact across the county borough.”

The new powers will also help to lessen the stress on councils and the legal system to deal with fly-tipping matters.

“Adopting the powers will also help ease the burden on local authorities and the court system,” the report continued.

“Fixed penalty notices also provide an opportunity for first time, non-habitual low-level offenders to avoid court and a possible criminal record.”

What constitutes a low-level case of fly-tipping has also been outlined, including non-hazardous waste, up to eight black bags, up to a car boot load or one or two bulky items, such as furniture or white goods.

There were 38,614 reports of fly-tipping in Wales in 2016/17, which cost the Welsh taxpayer more than £2.18million to dispose of.

Of that figure, slightly more than two per cent of offences – 794 – were reported in Torfaen, which was a decrease of 12 per cent or 905 incidents – from the previous year.