'One fly-tipping offence one too many' but figures reveal action differs
- Credit: Archant
Fly-tipping is being taken seriously in Norfolk, council leaders insist, after figures revealed disparities over the likelihood of action to tackle it.
Government figures showed that, in Norwich, of 4,937 fly-tipping incidents in 2019/20, action was only taken in 135 cases - just 0.03pc.
North Norfolk fared best, according to the figures, with 1,151 actions taken to deal with 517 incidents.
The number of incidents reported fell in every district, but council leaders said they were committed to dealing with fly-tipping.
A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: "Although the figure is high for Norwich compared with other Norfolk authorities, the vast majority of fly-tipping we deal with is discarded household items at communal bin areas or bagged waste from businesses.
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"When dealing with fly-tipping, enforcement is a last resort for the city council.
"We primarily focus on educating people about how to dispose of their waste safely and legally."
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Paul Wells, chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environmental committee, said the council's environmental services department had one of the best enforcement records in the county.
He said: "The environmental rangers investigate incidents, follow-up tip-offs and appeal for public information to help target those who blight the environment.
"They are also out and about on the streets of the borough seven days a week, addressing any street scene issues.
“The rangers will investigate fly-tipping and take formal action but also serve an educational role by providing local residents with information and advice around the correct refuse disposal."
Paul Kunes, cabinet member at West Norfolk Council, said just last week, the council prosecuted a man who dumped a 'transit van load' of rubbish on private land.
He said: "The figures show that there is a drop in reports of fly-tipping across Norfolk, which is clearly a step in the right direction.
“All Norfolk authorities, the Environment Agency and other partners are working together through the Norfolk Waste Enforcement Group and the #SCRAP campaign to share knowledge and best practice, as well as to run campaigns to educate and inform the public and businesses about their responsibilities when it comes to disposal of waste.
"Clearly Covid meant the focus was shifted as officers were diverted onto duties to support our response to the pandemic.
"As we move into recovery and back to normal arrangements, the focus is returning to activities around fly-tipping information, education and enforcement."
Judy Leggett, portfolio holder for environmental excellence at Broadland District Council, said, with 438 incidents reported, the council's fly-tipping rate was the lowest in the county.
She said: "But we are always working on further prevention and identification of those who fly-tip.
"We consider even one fly-tipping offence is one too many and as a council work closely with our partners to carry out thorough investigations, resulting in fines for businesses and residents who have broken the law and illegally disposed of waste."
South Norfolk Council took action 117 times, over 725 reports of fly-tipping.
Michael Edney, the council's cabinet member for clean and safe environment, said: "As well as being an eyesore, fly-tipping is selfish and harmful to the environment and wildlife.
"In South Norfolk we take fly tipping extremely seriously, we work hard to investigate every case and if you are caught fly-tipping, we will not hesitate to fine you."
He was given a £300 fixed penalty notice and warned fly-tipping can be a breach of a tenancy agreement and possibly result in eviction.
A Breckland Council spokesperson said: “We simply won’t tolerate fly-tipping in Breckland.
"Through community engagement, education and enforcement and with support from local communities, businesses and landowners, we have achieved a 26pc drop in fly-tipping across Breckland since 2013.
"This continues to be a big focus for us and we will persist in tracking down those who fly tip in our area until everyone gets the message that Breckland is a no fly-tipping zone.”