Peterborough MP calls for tougher penalties for fly-tipping in Parliamentary debate

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow called for tougher penalties for fly-tippers in a Parliamentary debate.
Norwood Lane. (Archive image).Norwood Lane. (Archive image).
Norwood Lane. (Archive image).

The debate last night (October 1) saw the city MP call for increased fines for convicted fly-tippers and h criticise the failure to deliver an online fly-tipping toolkit first promised in March 2018.

He told MPs: “Fly-tipping is an issue that blights too many of our communities.

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“Those dumping range from selfish individuals to criminal operators, but the effect is the same. The law-abiding suffer. And on private land, the law-abiding are made to pay.

“My constituency also takes in the fens around Eye, Thorney and Newborough. So I see fly-tipping in all its forms. And frankly, I’ve had enough of it.

“The people of Paston, Bretton, Werrington, Ravensthorpe and Millfield have also had enough. Some argue that this is just a local council issue – but I make no apology for demanding action.

Peterborough City Council are working hard to tackle this. But we all need to do more to help. And that includes the Government.

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“The village of Newborough regularly has to put up with fly-tips and mess on roads in and around the community. The junction of Norwood Lane and Newborough Road is a particularly bad hotspot which I think many election candidates went to visit in the run-up to the Peterborough by-election in 2019.

“Rubbish piles up high and many have stories of people travelling for miles to dump rubbish in this spot.

“But this does not stop in rural locations – in the city of Peterborough itself, we are sick and tired of people making our neighbourhoods dumping grounds. I have even tackled this issue head on. Calling out people I have seen dumping rubbish a couple of years ago in Ravensthorpe.

People have even said to me that seeing fly tips – especially during the isolation of lockdown affected their mental health. The council do a good job and often clean up a grot spot within 24 hours – but people began to think that is almost a service. We need more CCTV and stricter fines.”

Mr Bristow said the main drivers of fly-tipping are:

- Cost – dumping waste means not having to pay for it.

- Facilities – which can be difficult to access.

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- Attitude – the lazy and selfish, who want to make their waste someone else’s problem.

- Acceptability – when people regularly see fly-tips, some think it’s acceptable.

Almost half of recorded fly-tipping occurs on pavements and roads. Those are often the copycat offences.

Certain locations become hotspots, where fly-tipping becomes a norm.

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Around a third of cases are equivalent to a small van load, which are often the literal white vans of illegal operators.

Another third of cases would apparently fit in a “car boot or less.

Mr Bristow said: “I don’t know whether our statisticians regard mattresses as fitting in a car boot, but they are definitely among the more common items that I see dumped in Peterborough.

“And when they are dumped, and aren’t removed, other people take the opportunity to add their own rubbish.

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“As the council’s contractors will be coming anyway, why not? It beats the hassle and cost of going to the tip or arranging for a proper collection. That’s why I believe our approach should be no different to other forms of anti-social behaviour – zero tolerance. Obviously, innovations help. Advertised dates for free mega skips in key locations would help. Making access to other facilities and services easier would help.

“But above all, we need quick removal, a blitz on hot spots and proper punishment.

“I want to acknowledge that the Government recognises there is a problem. But an emphasis on localism and local approaches mustn’t become an excuse. It might be tempting in Whitehall to think that fly-tipping is now down to local councils to combat, but they need the right guidance, support and tools.

“To give an example, in December 2018, the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy committed to publishing a web-based fly-tipping toolkit to help tackle fly-tipping.

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“It was billed as to be hosted by the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group, but it’s not on their website.

“I want to see a much tougher approach. On the matter of issuing fixed penalty notices – the maximum penalty that can be issued is £400. I think this is totally inadequate – and when the minimum penalty is £150 – many unlicensed traders, individuals and landlords would consider this a penalty worth taking a risk for. The levels of fines should be considerably higher.

“Upping these penalties will require legislation – I urge ministers to consider doing this and in doing so they would have the overwhelming support of the people of Peterborough.”

Other MPS supported the call outlining examples of fly-tipping in their areas.