COUNCILS in England and Wales including Thurrock Council should be given new powers to impose on-the-spot fines to tackle fly-tipping, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
It said fly-tipping was costing local authorities about Â£36m a year to deal with an estimated 711,000 cases.
Authorities should be allowed to give out fixed penalty notices in some incidents rather than having to take offenders to court, it said.
LGA spokesman Peter Box said the current system worked against councils.
He called for a "new streamlined system which helps councils and hurts those doing the dumping".
The LGA, which works on behalf of councils, said some councils had recently seen some of the worst cases of fly-tipping ever.
Under the current system, local authorities are often left out of pocket when courts order offenders to pay only partial prosecution costs and instead prioritise compensation payments, the LGA said.
It called for councils to be awarded the full cost of prosecutions in the event of a successful court conviction.
"It is utterly unacceptable and inexcusable for anyone to dump waste illegally and councils know how much people hate seeing this sort of vandalism on their doorsteps," Mr Box said.
He said local authorities were "remarkably effective and efficient" in tackling fly-tipping, but said "the current system works against them".
"All the figures show that the huge amount of effort local authorities put into preventing and tackling fly-tipping is having a real impact – but new powers would ensure it goes even further," he added.