How can Peterborough end fly-tipping pain?
If you need a '˜new' sofa or fridge then you do not need to spend hundreds of pounds - just take a walk through the streets of Peterborough and you will find one.
Shopping trolleys and wheels are also available, if you look hard enough.
All of these discarded items contribute to the epidemic of fly-tipping in Peterborough, with 10,500 reported incidents in 2017 alone.
A fortnight ago city council leader Cllr John Holdich told the Peterborough Telegraph the authority will be coming up with new proposals to tackle fly-tipping after acknowledging a trial of bringing back free bulky waste collections had failed to stem the tide of rubbish being dumped.
“It’s a national problem and nobody has come up with a panacea,” he said.
An announcement on fly-tipping is expected at Monday’s Full Council meeting.
In the meantime, attempts to fine and prosecute fly-tippers continues. In October 2016 the city’s new Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES)- the team which combines council, police, fire service and prison staff - fully launched with going after fly-tippers part of its remit.
In 2016/17 there were 30 prosecutions for fly-tipping in Peterborough on top of 52 Fixed Penalty Notices which were handed out.
A council spokesman said: “The PES team are actively working to tackle fly-tipping on a daily basis and few other councils have such a dedicated team for this.
“Since the PES team was introduced the council has developed a strong reputation for prosecuting for fly-tipping offences.”
Labour member for Park ward Cllr Richard Ferris regularly highlights fly-tipping in his ward, and his worry is about Peterborough’s reputation.
“I’m very sympathetic of enforcement officers. I believe they are genuinely trying to do a good job,” he said.
“If you can’t find evidence you need to consider covert CCTV. We need to see if we can catch the criminals out then bring some prosecutions.
“I would like to see some real action on this. It will cost money but I believe it will save money in the long term, and will improve our reputation.
“People outside Peterborough see us as a dump.” Cllr Ferris also does not believe the council’s trial of free bulky waste collections was good enough.
“We did a three month trial of bulky waste collections and Cllr Holdich said they do not work,” he added.
“They have got to become part of the public psyche so they know they are there every month. To abandon it so quickly as he has is a mistake.”
The PES and council have been trying hard to bring fly-tipping down. They launched the #LovePeterborough campaign last September and announced they would be allowing residents to dispose of their unwanted household items for free in community freighters (skips).
Asked if the trials of free bulky waste collections and community freighters had proven to be successful, the council spokesman said: “We are still in the process of evaluating the scheme and should have relevant data at the end of the trial period in June, which will help us assess its overall performance.”
On the #LovePeterborough campaign, he added: ”The campaign is ongoing and having a positive effect. In recent weeks we have a focused on raising awareness of duty of care in relation to fly-tipping and have produced videos for our social media channels.
“As part of the campaign, we will be continuing to engage with residents and looking to address the issues they raise.”
Key to how fly-tipping is tackled is the decision from the council on how to replace Amey - the service contracted to collect bins and provide other street cleaning services in Peterborough - after it cancelled the contract early.
A decision on how to replace Amey has not yet been revealed but the cabinet is to discuss the issue next month, although the press and public are due to be excluded from that part of the meeting due to financial matters being raised.
New Green Party councillor for Orton Waterville Julie Howell reported 36 incidents of fly-tipping last weekend, including 21 shopping trolleys.
Recently she also reported four fridges being dumped in Pennington, Orton Goldhay.
Her suggestions to bring down fly-tipping include:
. Free and unlimited collections from people’s homes which she believes “will drive rogue traders who fly-tip domestic waste out of business pretty quickly.”
. Quicker responses when fly-tipping is reported.
. A better understanding of who is vulnerable to rogue traders who fly-tip and to ensure that these people’s needs are being met.
. Forcing landlords to do more to prevent fly-tipping.
. Increased communication with residents in a “clear and friendly manner.”
. Fostering community champions in every street who will report fly-tipping as soon as it happens.
One fly-tipping hotspot which continues to be targeted is Norwood Lane in Paston Ridings.
Previous action plans for the site have included the use of security guards and cameras, but it continues to be a dumping ground, prompting the council to put together a new strategy to clean up the area.
The PT reported in February that the plan could include narrowing the lane to a single carriageway and attempting to lower the banks at each side to achieve a single line of sight from one end to the other.
Exploring the use of open and covert CCTV surveillance and improved signage were also among the suggestions.
Asked how the strategy was progressing, the council spokesman said: “We are still assessing different options for tackling fly-tipping in Norwood Lane and hope to make an announcement on the strategy shortly.”