Fly-tippers are making so much money from removing waste in Peterborough that they are dumping vans weighing more than seven tons.
The revelation was made to city councillors last week as they decided to take a fresh look at solving one of Peterborough’s biggest problems.
Despite numerous attempts to reduce the mountain of rubbish dumped in the streets and countryside the council has agreed to set up a new working group tasked with finding alternative solutions.
Fly-tipping on council owned land costs the authority more than £200,000 to clean up every year.
Richard Fearn, head of waste, resources and energy at the council, explained to councillors on the Growth, Environment and Resources Scrutiny Committee last week that waste removal has become so lucrative that fly-tippers often purchase large vehicles specifically to fly-tip, before dumping the vehicle in rural areas along with the tons of waste they contain.
“Residents, farmers and the NFU (National Farmers Union) have all reported the abandonment of large vehicles in rural locations which when investigated are usually found to be full of illegally disposed waste,” he said.
“The cost of the vehicle is negligible compared to the profits that can be made from such activities.”
Committee member Cllr Stuart Martin, Labour member for Bretton, told the meeting that fly-tipping is now as much of a major concern in the city as in rural areas, and is the main topic of complaints from his constituents.
Conservative member for Hargate and Hempsted Cllr Mohammed Farooq suggested that the council’s policy should be to look wherever a solution can be found, whether that be locally or nationally.
However, Cllr Judy Fox from the Werrington First group pointed out that perhaps part of the solution to the problem is staring councils in the face, and that the disposal of waste by council should be made much easier and less costly.
It currently costs residents £23.50 to have bulky waste collected.
Free bulky waste collections were brought back this year in a trial, but council leader Cllr John Holdich said it had made no difference to the levels of fly-tipping in the city.
A new Household Recycling Centre is due to open in Fengate in early 2019, replacing the current site in Welland Road, Dogsthorpe.
There were 10,500 reported incidents of fly-tipping in Peterborough in 2017.
In the 2016/17 financial year there were 30 prosecutions for fly-tipping in the city on top of 52 Fixed Penalty Notices which were handed out.