Peterborough City Council is looking for more ways to prosecute fly-tippers as a working group reports more incidents than ever.
Cabinet members heard at their meeting on Monday from cabinet member for waste, street scene and the environment Cllr Marco Cereste that while efforts to curb fly-tipping, including the installation of covert cameras, have worked in some areas, the fly-tippers simply move on to new locations.
Cllr Cereste said: “This isn’t just about finding and prosecuting the fly-tippers, we have to educate and re-educate some people to realise that this is a crime that affects everybody.”
Leader of the council Cllr John Holdich said: “Fly-tipping in the city is a very visible challenge that affects us all.
“Which is why we have set up this cross-party task group to find ways to investigate and reduce the scourge, while prosecuting vigorously those who commit the crime.”
Chairman of the task group, Cllr Judy Fox, said: “Peterborough City Council is not alone in having to deal with the problem of fly-tipping.
“Most authorities around the country have developed different, often ad-hoc, approaches to tackling the issue, but ensuring that all agencies involved work together as much as possible to look for best practice.
“We have come up with a series of recommendations that we hope can be adopted to improve the fly-tipping challenge and ensure the health and well-being of city residents.
“We’re recommending that existing policies on waste, recycling and cleansing be fully reviewed not just for an immediate solution to the problem, but as part of an on-going plan to tackle fly-tipping long-term.
“We feel there are certain policies that the council could adopt immediately to help streamline the issues we have discovered with the current disposal of household, business and commercial waste at the new waste centre.
“We are therefore recommending that up to five bulky waste items per household be allowed for free, with additional bulky items to be priced accordingly.
“Likewise, the Landlord Bulky Waste Service from Aragon Direct Services should be altered so that pictures of the bulky waste can be emailed to them directly to arrange a quote, rather than requiring Aragon to make a site visit.
“We feel that a customer survey should be undertaken in September 2019 to look at the possibility of altering the opening hours of the waste facility.
“We also recommend that an electronic system be installed to replace the current paper permits that are issued. In this way commercial waste disposers would very quickly be discovered and will be made to pay accordingly for use of the facility.”
Cllr Fix concluded by saying: “Any way of combating fly-tipping and to prosecute more of the fly-tippers is to be applauded.
“We also need desperately to re-educate people to realise that this is a crime, and one that affects all of us, and that it is not normal to just dump waste anywhere you like in the city streets or out in the countryside.”
Cllr Peter Hiller, cabinet member for strategic planning and commercial strategy and investments, wanted to know if these recommendations would really make a difference to the numbers of people fly-tipping.
Task force member Cllr Christian Hogg said: “Yes I believe that they will make a difference. We looked at what’s being done in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and other parts of Cambridgeshire, and while there isn’t one quick fix solution, we are certain these recommendations will impact on the fly-tippers.”
Cabinet member for housing, culture and recreation Cllr Steve Allen said: “This is a fantastic report, but we’ve been roundly criticised in the past for not making many prosecutions - are these going to go up?”
Cllr Fox replied: “Yes, we will work closely with the police and the courts service to ensure that those caught fly-tipping will not only be prosecuted, but that the harshest possible fines be imposed upon them.”
Cllr Allen responded: “Are we also talking with the ‘man with a van’ businesses who carry out these fly-tipping operations to let them know we know who they are?”
Cllr Hogg replied: “Not exactly as there are legal implications to that kind of approach, but we keep a very close watch on them with cameras, more of which will be added soon, and if we catch them in the act then they will feel the full force of the law.”
Cabinet members approved the report and its recommendations which will now go forward to Full Council for ratification.