COUNCILLORS have considered introducing on-the-spot fines after growing tired of illegal dumping of household waste.

Fixed penalty notices (FPN) would give West Berkshire Council the authority to issue fines of up to £400 for fly-tipping offences.

Neighbouring councillors in Reading handed out more than 130 fines, ranging from £150 to £400, since new legislation was introduced in May 2016.

Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire's executive member for waste, revealed the authority could follow suit to clamp down on the problem.

The council only received 17 reports of fly-tipping on private land between September and November last year, which was lower than the same period for the previous year.

Councillor Boeck said: “Fly-tipping is a criminal offence and people who dispose of their waste in this way are liable to face prosecutions, substantial penalties, seizure of assets and potentially even a prison sentence.

“We investigate fly-tipping and take action in line with our enforcement policy which highlights education in most instances as the first course of action.

“Examples of situations where we would seek to educate rather than taking enforcement action include small-scale fly-tips.

“I absolutely agree that it is a serious issue and we will take action if we are able to.

“Unfortunately, it is often very difficult to fund the evidence to allow a successful prosecution.”

The council introduced charges for non-household waste at recycling centres across the district in September.

Residents in Reading have been issued with more on-the-spot fines for fly-tipping than anywhere else outside London and Brighton since the new powers were granted.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart added: “It is beyond me that anyone feels it is acceptable to simply dump their waste by the road.

“The FPN provide local authorities with another tool to crackdown on the selfish individuals who blight our neighbourhoods and ruin our beautiful landscape.

“The fines will act as a deterrent and we will continue to work with local authorities to tackle the root cause of the crime and change the mentality of the few who commit it.”