Labour city council group leader Cllr Shaz Nawaz:
For as long as I’ve been involved with Peterborough politics, fly-tipping has been an issue.
My colleagues in Park Ward and I often are called to fly-tipping sites. We snap photographs, mark the location, call out the council, and they clear up the site. The rest of the Labour Group does the same.
To the credit of our MP, Fiona Onasanya, she has reached into her pocket to fund bulky waste collections throughout Peterborough. Other members of the Labour Group intend to run community skips. These programmes will continue: however, it often feels like we are fighting a losing battle against a rising tide of rubbish, which frequently swells and crashes over our city, leaving soiled mattresses, broken bookcases, and discarded appliances in its wake.
I have stated that the Labour Group wants to make Peterborough one of the best cities in the country in which to live and work. We cannot get there without pride: not the type that encourages arrogance, but rather the kind that imbues self-esteem. It can be seen in an impulse, when a piece of litter is spotted and a resident’s first instinct is to reach down and deposit it in the nearest bin.
To get us to that point, however, we will need a set of positive policies. The Labour Group is continuing to develop its ideas: we have several initial proposals.
First, we need to understand that fly-tipping has a different character depending upon which part of the city in which one resides. In some areas, it’s a product of tenancy, and a handful of departing renters not being particularly fussed about how they dispose of their rubbish. This calls for a combination of better education, tougher fines and enhanced use of CCTV.
In other areas, fly-tipping is being done by rogue firms who are getting rid of industrial waste, such as large tins of cooking oil. I was pleased to see the Green Party echoing an idea I first heard from my Labour colleagues: we ought to have a “kitemark” certifying reputable waste disposal companies.
We also must tackle the root causes of fly-tipping: why is it getting worse? Why is Peterborough particularly affected? The Labour Group believes we should look at policies of other local authorities, for example, charges for using the city dump; initial research suggests there is a correlation between lower fees and better access with less incidence of fly-tipping. Obviously, reducing charges would affect the budget; but wouldn’t we rather lose revenue from that source, and pay less to clear up fly-tipping?
We must involve local businesses in the clear-up efforts; our MP has invited businesses to help fund bulky waste collections. We should ask firms large and small to participate; they are part of our community and have a stake in keeping it clean. The Group believes a holistic approach is required; it will not be a quick win. But often the most effective solutions require commitment, time and effort.