Hampshire County Council has called for tougher penalties for those who fly-tip in the county’s countryside.

The council has joined over 150 local authorities calling for harsher fines and sentences for fly-tipping from the Sentencing Council as part of a proposed review. The deputy leader of the council, Cllr Rob Humby, said the punishment is currently ‘not enough’.

He said: “Fly-tipping is an illegal activity which is predominantly perpetrated by a minority of unscrupulous individuals seeking to make a profit by avoiding commercial waste disposal costs. Currently, the punishment for the offence of fly-tipping is an insufficient deterrent because the sentences handed down do not always match the severity of the offence committed or fairly reflect the cost to the public purse.

“Ultimately, the costs incurred by local authorities in dealing with fly-tipping adversely impact council taxpayers and this is simply unjust. We have appealed to the Sentencing Council to review the current penalties and consider our recommendations for strengthening them.”

The council is calling for changes that, among other changes, would see the costs of clean-up on private land, and its restoration, paid for by the offender, and that court fines should exceed the cost of Fixed Penalty Notice fines and to include costs incurred in prosecuting a suspect.

In addition, they are calling for greater use of suspended sentences for first-time fly-tippers, and any serial offenders to receive prison time rather than more suspended sentences.

During the pandemic, reports of fly-tipping soared, with ClearWaste, an app which forwards fly-tipping reports to councils, reporting an increase of 74 per cent in reports in July 2020.

In Andover an the surrounding areas, incidents have included two sisters, Carla and Chantelle Matthews, being ordered to pay over £1,500 collectively after dumping waste in Test Valley, including on Cowdown Lane.

Meanwhile, Jason Mills admitted fly-tipping furniture and other items outside Clanville Village Hall in March, and was ordered to pay almost £1,000.