BY NICK PEARCE
Fly Tipping is out of control. Cases are spiralling and the clean-up is getting ever more expensive. The stats do not lie:
- Since 2012, the number of incidents of white goods being abandoned in rural England has increased from 3,928 to 12,319.
- The incidents of illegal rubbish dumping in the countryside as a whole rose from 888 to 1,473 in the same period.
- Districts, which are responsible for clearing up fly-tipping, are doing all they can to fight fly-tippers and have taken action over 600,000 times in the past five years.
Convicted fly tippers currently face a fine of up to £50,000 or a 12-month prison sentence. However the District Councils Network is calling for a review of sentencing guidelines so more serious offenders can be penalised with heavier fines, and for more funding so district councils can tackle the problem.
While traditionally the solutions to fly-tipping have been to wield an ever-greater stick, perhaps it is time to acknowledge that this policy is no longer working?
Who are responsible for the worst fly tipping sorties?
It’s white van man – the tradesmen who are making a few hundred quid profit per job and live hand to mouth. They simply cannot afford to put their vans on the weighbridge at the local dump and fork out for dumping waste. It is easier for them to find a country lane and dump their rubbish there. They are the ones responsible for the worst fly tipping cases.
If local dumps look at how they charge for sole traders and smaller firms, giving them exemptions when they can show they cannot afford to cough up for weighbridge costs paid by larger firms, the money lost will be far less than the cost of cleaning up from fly tippers.
As for the Romanians and others who are used to dumping fridges and washing machines in the countryside, they need to be fast educated on littering – a cultural review is in order. What may be standard behaviour where they come from is not how we do things over here – a penalty of jail or litter picking for a few weeks will help them learn. As the UK leaves the EU this aspect of the problem should resolve itself in any case.
Meanwhile, outdoor camera costs have dropped to just twenty pounds or so per camera, feeding 24/7 rain or shine to the Web. Fly tippers are not sophisticated criminals and tend to return to the same spots to dump their rubbish. Video of repeated offenders will help calm this crisis too.