Fly-tipping which is not deemed a risk to the public’s health will now take a lot longer to be cleared up under new cost-cutting proposals from Peterborough City Council.
The authority’s latest budget proposals released on Friday, which will help to tackle a £33 million deficit, includes delaying the removal of non-hazardous fly-tips from two days to between five and 10 days.
This would allow cleaning to be carried out with a smaller team, helping the council save £59,000 a year.
The huge amount of dumped waste in Peterborough costs the council approximately £500,000 annually to tackle.
There were more than 10,000 collections of fly-tips in Peterborough in 2017/18 despite campaigns and initiatives including a trial of free bulky waste collections.
A council working group which looked at the issue made a number of recommendations which included buying crime tape to place around large fly-tips to make residents aware they are being investigated, and to invest in covert CCTV cameras.
The tape has now been bought, while the council said it looking to buy CCTV cameras to place in hot spot areas to help secure prosecutions.
Leader of the council’s Green Party group Cllr Julie Howell said: “We know from experience that when fly-tipping is left on the street it attracts more fly-tipping. Unfortunately, some people are like lemmings. When they see that someone has fly-tipped and apparently ‘got away with it’ they decide to add to it in the hope that they’ll also get away with it and in the belief that what they’re doing isn’t so bad as they didn’t start it.
“So if the council is to reduce its targets for clearing reported fly-tips to five to 10 days logic suggests that the problem of fly-tipping in our communities will be much worse as accumulations of rubbish will be larger.
“On the other hand, residents often tell me that people fly-tip because they know the council will collect it for free. So what will happen if the council isn’t so quick to clear the fly-tip away? And what will happen if the council puts more energy into catching people who fly-tip?
“If people are going to be tempted to fly-tip where there is already a fly-tip, might this increase the chances of the council catching them red-handed? Could this move on the part of the council actually help to improve the situation?
“We welcome the news that the council is to devote more resource to catching and prosecuting people who fly-tip. However, we (including local councillors who should show leadership when it comes to preventing fly-tipping) must do more to dissuade residents from fly-tipping and from using rogue traders who fly-tip and more to encourage the take-up of the various services that enable residents to dispose of unwanted items the right way.”
Other budget measures include reducing the amount of time and money spent on non-essential street cleaning, including a reduction on cleaning city centre spillages and city-wide stain washing.
Targeted cleaning in the Gladstone area of the city, which was put in place due to people littering, will be reduced from a daily visit to three times per week.
The council said it is working with groups in the community who want to carry out litter picks by supplying materials and disposing of the waste they collect.
The expected saving from the reduction in cleaning is £129,000 a year.
Residents can have their say on the budget proposals either at www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget, or by picking up a hard copy of the budget from the Town Hall in Bridge Street or at any city library from Monday.
A series of articles on the budget proposals will be published online at https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/politics over the weekend.
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