Calls have been made to give councils the power to impose bigger fines for fly-tipping.

Currently the maximum fixed penalty for dumping waste in a public area is £400 but a Bolton councillor has said the scale of the problem is such that the figure should be increased.

Cllr Stuart Hartigan, who represents Breightmet on Bolton Council, has urged the authority the ask the minister for the environment to grant more power to councils to ensure ‘a bigger deterrent’.

It comes after a maximum £400 fine was issued earlier this month for flytipping on Stitch-Mi-Lane, Harwood.

A council investigation linked the waste to an address in Bolton.

When questioned, a builder admitted to paying an unknown man £80 to remove the waste which he thought would be disposed of at the tip. He failed to make the necessary duty of care checks that the man held a waste carrier licence.

He was fined £400, which was later reduced to £300 for early payment.

An investigation is ongoing to find the person responsible for the actual act of fly-tipping.

Cllr Hartigan said: “Bolton Council’s enforcement department have chosen to issue the largest fine permissible by a local council for fly-tipping.

"Could we ask the minister for Environment for more powers or the ability to issue larger fines to act as a bigger deterrent for those considering breaking the rules.”

Responding to his question, cabinet member Hilary Fairclough, said: “I’m delighted that Bolton has set all their fines to the maximum permitted.

"Those limits on fixed penalties are decided by the government. I will be happy to approach the minister to look into whether those fines can be raised.

“We are doing all we can to take a robust position on environmental crime.”

Speaking after the recent maximum fine was issued, a spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “Everyone has a legal duty of care to ensure their household or business waste is disposed of correctly.

"You can be fined or prosecuted if your waste is flytipped by someone else on your behalf.

“You should always use a registered waste carrier if someone else is collecting your waste.”

Residents can find a registered waste carriers in the Bolton area on the Environment Agency’s website.