Householders who give their rubbish to a waste carrier who then dumps the rubbish illegally face fines of £300.

In an effort to clamp down on fly-tipping, Hertsmere Borough Council has adopted new powers which allows them to give fines to homeowners who breach their duty of care.

The move is to encourage people to make extra checks to ensure the person who is coming to collect their waste is legitimate and will dispose of the rubbish responsibly.

There is a maximum fine of £300 which can be reduced to £200 if paid within ten days.

Councillor Seamus Quilty, responsible for the environment, said: “Most fly-tipped offences investigated by the council has shown that the waste has originated at domestic premises. Previously, officers have had to face the choice between taking no action or a formal prosecution, which would criminalise the homeowner.

“The ability to issue fixed penalty notices is a more proportionate out-of-court sanction. However, we believe it sends a clear message that it is unacceptable to plead ignorance if your waste is fly-tipped.

“Fly-tipping causes harm to the environment, as well as diverts valuable resources from the delivery of frontline services at a time when the council must continue to make efficiency savings.”

Hertsmere will be able to use the money from the fixed penalty notices to put towards enforcement and clear-up costs.

The council, along with the other district members of the Hertfordshire Fly-tipping Group, a multi-agency taskforce that includes the boroughs, districts and county council, police, Herts Fire and Rescue, the Environment Agency, the National Farmers Union and Keep Britain Tidy, are introducing the fines.