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'Zero tolerance' crackdown on fly-tipping
A “ROGUES gallery” that names and shames convicted fly-tippers could be part of a new crackdown on the problem in Basingstoke and Deane.
Councillor Robert Donnell, Conservative Cabinet member for the environment, has pledged a “zero tolerance” approach to fly-tipping in a bid to stamp out the crime. He has also said he wants the council to pay rewards for tip-offs that lead to criminal convictions.
But opposition councillors from Labour and the Liberal Democrats blame bulky waste collection charges for encouraging fly-tipping, and they are calling for these to be slashed to deter dumping.
The crackdown pledge comes as figures show that over the last three years, only about a third of fly-tipping incidents resulted in any kind of action from the borough council.
Enforcement action can range from a warning letter to a fixed penalty fine. And since April 2010, only nine incidents have gone all the way to court.
The figures show that: * from April 2010 to April 2011 there were 2,879 fly-tipping cases reported to the council, which led to 1,050 “enforcement actions”.
* from April 2012 to March this year, of 1,746 reports, 597 resulted in enforcement actions
Cllr Donnell said: “I want to make sure that if fly-tipping occurs, we can take the culprit to court and prosecute.
“Prosecuting is always in the public interest. Fly-tipping is against the law and should not be tolerated.”
According to the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which compiles its own figures, the 2,391 flytipping incidents in the borough in 2011-12 cost honest taxpayers £104,050 to be cleaned up.
More than 1,000 of these incidents were single bin bags, costing £7,273 in total to deal with.
Defra says that in 2011-12, there were 1,040 “small van-load incidents”, which cost £58,240 to remove.
In the same year, the borough council spent £27,864 on enforcement action, of which the bill for sending 554 warning letters amounted to £18,282.
Cllr Gavin James, the borough’s Liberal Democrat group leader and Eastrop ward member, believes the best way to clamp down on fly-tipping is to make it easier for people to dispose of rubbish.
He urged Cllr Donnell to slash the charge levied on residents by the borough for the collection of bulky waste, and criticised budget plans to halve the collection teams.
Cllr James said: “Charging less would be the first step. It might be worth looking to see if we do an amnesty in certain areas where there is a problem.”
Currently, the borough charges residents £20.50 to to remove between one and five items, with further charges for more waste or big items.
Cllr Paul Harvey, Labour deputy leader, echoed Cllr James’ comments. “Go with the amnesty,” he said. “I think it is more important that you have a well-run bulky waste collection service that helps people get rid of their waste in an affordable way.”
In response, Cllr Donnell dismissed calls to lower the charges. He said: “I don’t see any direct correlation between bulky waste service charges and fly-tipping.”