Councils rubbish claims fly-tipping is on the increase

SCOURGE OF THE LANDSCAPE -- a pile of dumped rubbish in woodland
SCOURGE OF THE LANDSCAPE -- a pile of dumped rubbish in woodland

DAMNING figures released this week that claim fly-tipping is on the rise throughout the Dispatch district — and costing taxpayers more and more — have been rubbished by local councils.

Private bulky-waste firm, Any Junk, has carried out a detailed survey of councils up and down the country — and discovered that more than a third suffered an increase in the amount of illegally dumped waste they had to deal with from April 2011 to March 2012.

In Ashfield, which covers Hucknall, the figures show that the number of fly-tipping reports went up by 16% to 884 from 759 the previous year, with a clean-up cost of more than £44,000.

As for Nottingham City Council, which accounts for Bulwell, the Any Junk statistics suggest there was an increase of 18% from 8,249 between April 2010 and March 2011 to 9,702 between April last year and March this year. The clean-up cost was allegedly £543,000.

But Ashfield District Council, along with the neighbouring city council, have both hit back, saying their own figures reveal that the problem with fly-tipping is actually on the decline.

“Fly-tipping has been consistently falling in Ashfield for a number of years, both in terms of quantity collected and in terms of the number of reports,” said Edd de Coverly, service director for environment at Ashfield Council.

In refuting the Any Junk stats, Mr de Coverly said: “In 2010/11, the number of incidents reported was 759, falling to 640 in 2011/12. This figure has been consistently dropping over the past four years.”

And not only is the council saying these figures are incorrect but that they have been making strides to tackle the problem across the region using a number of methods, including prosecutions.

Mr de Coverly added: “Ashfield Council is an extremely proactive authority in terms of using a variety of interventions to tackle the problems of fly-tipping and littering.

“In 2011/12, there was a total of 284 enforcement actions taken. During the same period, the council secured 16 successful prosecutions involving waste-related crime, including fly-tipping or cases that could lead to fly-tipping. There are a further two cases currently pending.

“We are committed to sustaining the reduction in fly-tipping and will continue to take action against those who fly-tip.”

A spokesman for the city council said: “Nottingham is the UK’s cleanest big city and we run one of the few free bulky-waste collections in the country, meaning there’s no reason for residents to dump waste illegally.

“Fly-tipping is notoriously difficult to gain successful prosecutions for, as it is often carried out in secluded areas under the cover of darkness.

“Our neighbourhood enforcement team and the police take part in regular operations aimed at catching fly-tippers, metal thieves, illegal waste operatives and the drivers of unroadworthy vehicles.

“If an area is continually used for fly-tipping, we have sophisticated technology which allows us to carry out high-tech surveillance of such sites. This technology, along with a dedicated team of enforcement officers, has led to excellent results in the Nottingham area. We investigate fly-tipping and will track down the people who dump waste, along with the person who created the refuse. We would urge anyone who fly-tipping it to take details, such as vehicle registration numbers, and contact our anti-social behaviour helpline on 0115 915 2020.”

But Any Junk defending its statistics, stating: “The number of fly-tipping instances was provided to us by the councils via a Freedom of Information request. When compared to the previous year’s figures, Ashfield was one of 120 councils in England that showed that fly-tipping on public land was on the rise. Rather than single out or criticise individual councils, the intention of our survey was to compare relative performance, and to identify opportunities for improvement.”