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Calls for stronger action against fly-tippers as figures for fines are revealed

PUBLISHED: 12:06 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:06 26 June 2019

Norwich Green Party campaigners and the local community got together to clear litter from the River Wensum and the surrounding area in Norwich. Photo: Michael Cutting

Norwich Green Party campaigners and the local community got together to clear litter from the River Wensum and the surrounding area in Norwich. Photo: Michael Cutting

Michael Cutting

Fly-tipping in Norwich is being taken seriously, council bosses insisted, even though only five fines were issued for dumping rubbish in the course of a year.

Green city councillor Martin Schmierer. 
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYGreen city councillor Martin Schmierer. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The relatively small number of fixed penalty notices which was issued was raised at meeting of Norwich City Council this week, where council leaders said education was preferred over more costly enforcement.

Martin Schmierer, Green city councillor for Mancroft, had highlighted how, in 2017/18, the city council took action 518 times over more than 4,800 reports of fly-tipping.

But just five fixed penalty notices were issued and nobody was prosecuted in that period.

Mr Schmierer questioned why the authority was not taking more serious action over the problem, citing the 502 fines issued by Durham County Council, which won praise from Keep Britain Tidy.

Kevin Maguire, Labour's cabinet member for safe and sustainable city environment on Norwich City Council. Pic: SubmiitedKevin Maguire, Labour's cabinet member for safe and sustainable city environment on Norwich City Council. Pic: Submiited

Kevin Maguire, Labour's cabinet member for safe and sustainable city environment, said Durham, a unitary authority, was not comparable to Norwich.

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But he said: "The major component of fly-tipping in Norwich is bagged waste, either from residents or businesses.

"While the unsafe disposal of such waste is an offence, it is often the result of a lack of understanding of waste collection services or a failure to engage a collection contractor for business waste.

"When dealing with fly-tipping this council applies the principle of ACE - advise, confirm, enforce.

"By using this approach, those who have made mistakes are given advice and information to ensure that they can dispose of their waste safely and legally in future.

"Enforcement is a last resort, principally because the costs and resources required for education and encouragement are significantly less than those required for legal action and significantly more effective for the majority of the issues that arise in Norwich."

The concern over fly-tipping followed an event at the weekend where volunteers came together to help clean up the city's River Wensum.

The event saw Norwich Green Party campaigners join forces with Canadian canoe hire company Pub and Paddle, charity Rivercare and the Broads Authority for Saturday's event.

More than 50 bags of rubbish were removed from the river and nearby banks.

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