Opinion: ‘New Peterborough cameras will catch fly-tippers’

Wayne Fitzgerald, city council leader and Conservative group leader on Peterborough City Council writes...

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 6th March 2022, 1:45 pm
A recent fly-tipping incident on Newborough Road in Peterborough.

I have spoken before in this column about fly-tipping and the significant impact it has on our communities and the burden it places on taxpayers, who have to pay for it to be removed.

There’s no excuse for it – there are plenty of ways to dispose of your waste legally without dumping it.

I have committed to leaving no stone unturned in our battle to tackle fly-tipping and to prosecute the people who do it, and this week we launched a three-month trial of using cameras to help catch fly-tippers in the act.

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These cameras will be installed, operated and monitored by Enfortis, a company with a proven track record of working in partnership with other local authorities to significantly reduce fly-tipping.

It will allow us to make use of the latest AI technology to help combat fly-tipping at hotspot locations. Enfortis will also be responsible for the enforcement of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for the drivers of vehicles caught fly-tipping.

The trial will be at no cost to the council, as payments from FPNs will be used to cover the costs of deploying and monitoring the cameras and issuing the FPNs.

If the offence is serious enough, it will enable offenders to go straight to prosecution, sending a clear message to those who choose to break the law.

And just a reminder to those people who blame the council for fly-tipping – it is not us who fly-tips, it is people you may know.

I would urge everyone not only to report fly-tipping so we can remove it as quickly as possible, but to be vigilant and encourage their neighbours, relatives and people around them to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner. And be prepared to report those who don’t to the council!

Like others, I have been shocked and appalled by what is happening in Ukraine at the moment.

On Sunday I attended an anti-war rally in Cathedral Square in support of Ukraine and people in Peterborough and elsewhere who have been affected by the atrocities taking place.

I was able to speak at the event and told those in attendance that we stand by the people of Ukraine and we will do all we can here in Peterborough to support them.

I also condemned the actions of Russia and President Putin and I said that I hoped the severe sanctions that we and the rest of the world are putting in place will stop him in his tracks.

If you would like to, there are lots of ways you can make donations, including via the British Red Cross – www.redcross.org.uk

At Wednesday night’s Full Council meeting members were asked to sign off the council’s budget for the new financial year.

In addition, the Conservative group was due to present an amendment to remove the proposal to reduce the budget for the library service.

We will still take forward proposals to review our library services and provide them differently, which will hopefully cost less and save money for taxpayers.

Our current operator, City Culture Peterborough Ltd, has said it can no longer continue to provide culture services from April so we’re bringing all their services back in-house. This will help us to ensure we achieve the £500k savings and it will not directly affect the library service opening hours.

For example, we can also provide in-house finance, ICT and HR support at a lower cost.

The library review will continue, however, throughout 2022/23 and we will continue to work with councillors, library users, staff and others before bringing a full review report through the council later this year.

Overall, it has been a difficult and challenging budget this year, but we have taken it on the chin and we hope to move forward and start to rebuild the council’s finances.

The days of difficult decisions are not over, although we do have a lot to look forward to – the new university, which opens this autumn, and the growth and ambition of our city all bodes well for the future.

You might recall that the government has promised a £150 rebate for everyone in council tax bands A to D to offset the rise in gas and electricity charges.

Those who have a direct debit set up to pay their council tax will receive their payment automatically from April, whereas anyone who pays by other means will need to make a claim for the rebate.

We want to make sure nobody misses out on the rebate, or has to wait a while to receive it, so we are urging residents to pay their council tax by direct debit so we can get the money to you as quickly as possible.

If you don’t already pay by direct debit, you can sign up to do so on our website at www.peterborough.gov.uk

Finally, I noticed some comments in last week’s PT from opposition members calling for the electrification of buses within the city.

It seems they are somewhat behind the curve as we have been working with the Combined Authority on this for quite some time and we are at a fairly advanced stage to bring this forward.

So, I would advise opposition members to keep up and get on board otherwise they’ll miss the bus!

I’ll be able to tell you more about our exciting plans for electric buses in the coming weeks.