East Suffolk Council reports increased fly-tipping during Covid pandemic
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Fly-tipping in East Suffolk soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, latest data has showed - and efforts to work on a joined-up policy across the county could be a means of cracking down on offenders.
East Suffolk Council's scrutiny committee on Thursday evening assessed the problem in the district, with data presented indicating that Quarter 3 of 2020 saw more than 600 reports - nearly double the 350 reports seen in Quarter 4 of 2019.
However, figures for Q4 of 2020 had showed a downward trend to 500.
Of just over 500 reported at the end of 2020, 256 were the size of a small van load, while 139 roughly equated to a car boot size load.
Conservative cabinet member for the environment, James Mallinder, said the council was using social media to shame those illegally dumping waste, and has said a joined-up policy across the county could be explored.
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"I think there is some real scope doing some collective work, maybe through the county and collecting the districts together because it is not isolated to East Suffolk," he said.
"I am sure there are people driving from other districts into our district to dump rubbish - particularly as it is a rural community and it is impossible to police every road. I think there is definitely some scope for having some joined up policies going across all districts."
For some cases investigations are carried out to try and identify the culprits - particularly on household waste dumps where some items could reveal those behind the crime, while fixed penalty notices and prosecutions were also pursued where possible.
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Caroline Topping from the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, questioned whether the move to booking slots at Suffolk's recycling centres introduced by Suffolk County Council during the pandemic to aid social distancing had had an impact. She added: "People are finding it difficult to book in cars - I think with trailers it is particularly difficult to book in, vans are finding it difficult as there aren't enough spots."
Labour's Louise Gooch said "we are at a crisis point with this," and suggested more education for offenders: "We need to change people's behaviour, and in order to get people to behave differently we have to get people to think differently."
The committee is set to come up with a series of recommendations at its meeting in June when waste will be further scrutinised.