Fly-tippers risk being slapped with £400 on-the-spot fines from today as councils gain new powers to tackle the problem that costs taxpayers millions.
Those caught dumping items such as old mattresses, televisions and furniture face being issued with a parking ticket-style fixed penalty notice (FPN), as part of an overhaul in how local authorities combat the antisocial behaviour.
Councils across England and Wales currently spend nearly £20 million carrying out over half a million enforcements each year, with action against offenders often involving expensive court proceedings.
It is hoped the new powers will bridge the gap between smaller on-the-spot fines handed out to litterers and criminal proceedings against large-scale illegal dumping.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the powers to hand out stiff fines without having to take perpetrators to court will help councils under pressure to cut costs.
LGA environment spokesman Martin Tett welcomed the change in the law, but called for changes in the way more serious fly-tipping offences are prosecuted.
He said: "The Government has responded to our call for councils to be able to apply fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping - and this is a big step in the right direction.
"Councils also need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences. Local authorities should also be able to recoup all prosecution costs, rather than be left out of pocket."