Headlines: October 10th, 2007

Councils are getting tougher on people who dump rubbish illegally but they are warning that everyone who lives and works in an area has to play a part in cracking down on the fly tippers. New figures show local authorities have dramatically increased the number of enforcement actions against unlawful tipping.

The figures from the Flycapture database are based on at least 10 monthly returns in the past year from 345 authorities, that’s 97 per cent of all councils. The Local Government Association says the level of returns – up for the third consecutive year – is an indication of the uptake and successful use of the database as a management information source.

The results show that councils in England reported dealing with 2.6 million incidents of fly tipping, up by five per cent on the previous year. Half those cases involved single black rubbish sacks but dealing with all the incidents cost more than 70 million pounds. Most illegal dumping takes place in urban areas and more than three-quarters of cases were in the 86 most deprived areas. The number of enforcement actions rose by 16 per cent during the year.

Commenting on the figures Councillor Paul Bettison, Chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, said they showed local people were gaining confidence in the system that illegally dumped rubbish would be cleared up quickly and those responsible would be brought to justice. “Fly-tipping is a huge problem for councils, the taxpayer and residents alike. Councils are striving to keep the country clean and tidy and have been leading the way in using new, innovative and cutting edge technology to crack down on those who break the law and fly tip,” he said.

No one, he added, was complacent about the problem and councils would continue to crank up operations to catch and prosecute those responsible and he went on, “Councils cannot crack down on fly tippers alone. Tackling and preventing fly tipping needs everyone who lives and works in a local area to help the council in keeping the streets clean.”

Meanwhile the Minister for Waste, Joan Ruddock has called on all councils to come up to the standard of the best authorities in dealing with fly tipping. “Councils as diverse as Sheffield, Worthing and Milton Keynes are driving down fly-tipping through targeted, concerted action. I want other councils to follow their lead,” she said.