CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has spent almost £167,000 in one year on taking action against fly-tippers – but only got back £960 in fines.

This is according to statistics recently published by the Government.

In 2015/16, CWAC spent £198,799 on clearing fly-tip waste, with 3,638 incidents of fly-tipping recorded.

The council took action investigating the incidents, sending warning letters, issuing fixed penalty notices, and taking legal action.

These 5,030 actions, cost the council £166,999 – making a total of £365,798 spent on fly-tipping in one year.

According to the figures, the council issued 273 fixed penalty notices.

It received £960 back through 12 £80 fines – the same number of times it took legal action.

CWAC’s prosecution costs amounted to £1,405.

In comparison, neighbouring local authority Cheshire East Council issued 76 fixed penalty notices and did not received any money back through fines.

The report said Cheshire East did not take legal action against any alleged fly-tippers and spent £33,330 on actions.

Maria Byrne, Director of Place Operations, said: “The costs published are based on rates fixed by DEFRA and are for the period April 2015 to March 2016. The Council informs DEFRA of the number of incidents and the costs figures are calculated automatically, based on an average national cost figure .

“The figure of £960 refers to the fines issued through the courts following a successful prosecution.  What is not recorded or published here is the income from fixed penalty notices that individuals have paid to avoid prosecution. Investigations and their associated costs did amount to £170,000 for that period as this includes all investigation costs as well as issuing letters and fixed penalties.

“Next year’s figures will reflect new enforcement arrangements put in place by our Regulatory Services Team and will show an increase in fixed penalties issued and paid, and successful prosecutions.  Our recent increases in fixed penalty fines and other targeted actions are designed to reduce the number of incidents, therefore reducing removal and clean-up costs and the environment crime that blights our residents lives.”

This news comes after CWAC announced earlier this month that it will be taking a much stricter approach, increasing its fly-tipping fines from £80 to £400.

Speaking about the increase in fixed penalty notices, Cllr Karen Shore, CWAC cabinet member for environment, said: “The decision to impose the maximum penalty of £400 sends out a clear message that fly-tipping will not be tolerated in west Cheshire.

“There are significant environmental, social and financial impacts associated with fly-tipping – it is a blight on local environments, a source of pollution, a potential danger to public health and a hazard to wildlife, plus there are considerable costs to clear it away.

“The message is clear – fly-tippers beware. We will do all we can to track you down and make sure you pay for what you have done.”