Soaring numbers of fly-tippers in Waveney being prosecuted
WAVENEY has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people prosecuted or fined for illegally dumping rubbish as communities declare war on flytippers, it emerged this week.
The big rise is revealed in new official figures which show that 54 people faced fixed-penalty notices this year – more than 12 times the total in 2009-10 when just four faced action.
But Waveney District Council has played down concerns that the problem is on the increase, saying it showed its 'innovative enforcement scheme' – which encouraged its own staff and members of the public to report offenders – had led to more people being caught.
A council spokesman said the figures should sent out a clear warning to anyone considering fly-tipping that it was working hard to catch the culprits and to keep Waveney clean and tidy.
He said: 'Fly-tipping is a lazy, horrible offence and anyone who casually discards large amounts of rubbish in this way should be ashamed. We will continue to work as hard as possible tracking down offenders to help protect the environment for decent law-abiding people.'
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The new figures reveal that Waveney issued four fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping in 2009/10, eight in 2010/11 and 54 in 2011/12.
The increase comes after the authority launched an incident ticketing scheme in 2009, allowing employees working in a wide range of roles to receive special training on how to gather information and report people for dog fouling, littering and fly-tipping.
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After a report has been received, Waveney's environmental health team examines the evidence to see if it meets the standard for carrying out enforcement action.
This approach has led to 180 fixed penalty notice being issued for littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping, with 12 being prosecuted in Magistrates' court with an average fine of �260.
Andrew Reynolds, Waveney's principal environmental health officer, told The Journal the scheme had put power in the hands of communities who cared.
'The 100pc success rate for those cases which went to court is a reflection on the quality of the evidence being gathered and submitted,' he said.
'This is itself a reflection on the quality of the training and the enthusiasm of the participants, most of whom live and work in the district and just want to live somewhere clean and tidy.
'Probably the most satisfying part is that we have been able to put some power back into the hands of people who live and work here and who care about what our streets and public places look like.'
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said that the training of Waveney's staff to tackle fly-tipping was clearly helping to win the battle against flytippers, and this had led to fewer of his constituents contacting him about the problem in recent months.
He told the Journal: 'It does appear to be having an affect. The war on rubbish and litter is always ongoing but this is certainly a move in the right direction.'
The National Farmer's Union has backed Waveney's efforts to tackle fly-tipping as it continues to fight on behalf of landowners who are left to clear up waste illegally dumped on their land.
An NFU spokesman said: 'Fly-tipping is an ongoing problem for farmers who have to pay to remove someone else's rubbish, as well as the risk it poses to wildlife. It includes anything from car tyres, household waste, even asbestos, so we welcome the approach taken by Waveney District Council's environmental health team if it is helping to cut down on fly-tipping incidents.'
Seven household recycling centres in Suffolk were earmarked for closure in May last year as the county council sought to cut �1.45m from its waste services budget – prompting concerns that it might lead to more fly-tipping.
The site at South Lowestoft Industrial Estate was the only one in Waveney retained by the council.
However, a new community-backed site was established in Beccles and the Sole Bay Community Recycling Centre, at Blyth Road, Southwold, was kept open as private venture by Graham Murray, who charges people to dump their waste.
Mr Murray, who had to close the centre on Sundays when he found it was no longer financially viable, said: 'Due to the time of year the site has been quiet, but there has been no fly-tipping incidents around Southwold, which I am very pleased about.'
? If you witness a fly-tipping incident and feel you can report it safely, record the day, date and time you saw the tipping, what you saw, and where you were when you saw the fly-tipping, before calling environmental services on 01502 562111.