Just six fly-tippers prosecuted despite 9,600 reports in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 09:51 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:04 04 July 2018
Fly-tippers are getting away with dumping hundreds of tonnes of waste across Norfolk, with just a handful of perpetrators being caught.
Rubbish was dumped illegally more than 9,600 times in Norfolk last year, excluding Great Yarmouth – but councils only managed to prosecute six people.
More than half of all fly-tipping reports in Norfolk from April 2017 to March this year were in Norwich.
But out of those 5,484 incidents, Norwich City Council dished out one caution and two fixed penalty notices.
Councils said it was hard to get evidence about who was behind the fly-tipping.
They also said it was often carried out in areas where there was unlikely to be any witnesses.
Of the few prosecutions this year, one included a business which was caught dumping asbestos-containing material in communal bins in Costessey.
Fly-tipping costs councils tens of thousands of pounds to clear-up, with West Norfolk paying £47,102 from April 2017 to March this year.
Norwich Green Party councillor Denise Carlo said: “Councils need to do more to tackle fly-tipping.
“They are in the front line, with a duty to clear-up the myriad of items that are fly-tipped each year and yet the number of prosecutions last year hit a record low.
“Elsewhere in the country, local authorities have been far more successful in catching the offenders.”
County-wide, excluding Great Yarmouth, only 0.06pc of fly-tipping incidents resulted in a prosecution.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council reported 6,407 incidents during that period, and secured 18 prosecutions.
However, a spokesman for the local authority stressed that until December 2017 it recorded the issue differently to other councils in Norfolk.
It said issues such as “side waste” are now no longer reported as fly-tipping.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) secured three prosecutions last year.
A council spokesman said the authority was “very proactive” in catching fly-tippers, and used CCTV to identify offenders.
Its prosecutions resulted in more than £800 in fines.
A further three warning letters and one caution were given out during that period. The council also has three ongoing investigations.
An NNDC spokesman said: “Being able to bring a prosecution relies on being able to identify a fly-tipper, either via CCTV or by identifying the culprit from the items that have been dumped.
“We are very proactive in our work to catch fly-tippers, including using CCTV at hotspots in collaboration with landowners.”
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council said it secured two prosecutions last year.
It also issued a caution and two fixed penalty notices. A further five cases were pending action, the council said.
South Norfolk Council, meanwhile, prosecuted for fly-tipping in February this year.
It said a business was caught dumping asbestos-containing material at Queens Hill in Costessey.
A council spokesman said the firm had tipped the waste in communal bins serving flats on the estate.
The company was fined £1,000, ordered to pay £2,417 in costs, and a £100 victim surcharge.
Broadland District Council also served one £200 fixed penalty notice last year.
Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for safe city environment, said most fly-tipping was “unlikely” to be witnessed and there was normally a lack of evidence about where the waste came from.
But he added: “We work hard to prevent it happening, such as clearances to avoid further rubbish being dumped, encouraging residents to report fly-tipping and where possible to provide evidence, as well as providing information about how to responsibly deal with waste.”
The city council said it has two full-time and one part-time environmental protection officers.
Norwich Green councillor Martin Schmierer said councils should look at successful schemes used elsewhere in the UK to tackle the issue.
“I would like to see an amnesty trialled [in Norwich] where skips are placed in key places where fly-tipping does happen and see if that yields results,” he said.
Reports of fly-tipping have increased since Norfolk County Council introduced charges to dump DIY waste in April.
• What council leader Andrew Proctor had to say
Norfolk County Council’s new leader Andrew Proctor said any future decisions on DIY waste charges will have to be based on evidence.
He said: “It is important to look closely and see what the facts and figures over a period of time are telling us.
“We’ll be doing just this and as with any issue if decisions have to be made we will make them based on evidence.”
In regard to fly-tipping, he said the increase was no “surprise” as it mirrored a rise nationally.
He said: “We’ve heard loud and clear that people hate to see fly-tipping and we do too. So we’ve been looking closely at the data we have so far on the types and amounts of waste illegally dumped in Norfolk over the past months.
“Early indications show that a rise in April was not down to lots more DIY waste being fly-tipped. In fact the amount of construction and demolition type DIY waste that was illegally dumped in April stayed more or less the same as in the previous months.”
On April 1, the council removed a concession which allowed people to leave up to 80 litres of DIY waste at its recycling centres for no charge.
Since then we revealed there were 35,866 fewer visitors to Norfolk’s tips in April 2018, compared to April 2017.
The amount of waste dumped over the same period also fell by 30pc.
Meanwhile, fly tipping across Norfolk increased by 24pc to 1,158 in April 2018.
• We initially reported that Andrew Proctor did not comment on this issue. This is because Norfolk County Council’s press office did not email over his comment until after the story was printed today (July 4).
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