'Man in van' warning as fly tipping hits 12-a-day
Council bosses in Sunderland say they will not hesitate to take action against fly tippers as new figures show illegally dumped rubbish is being reported 24 times a day.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows 8,829 fly-tipping incidents were reported to Sunderland Council in 2019-20 – an average of 24 a day.
Although the figure is 104 down on the previous year, the Local Government Association say, nationally, these offence costs taxpayers almost £50m a year to clear up.
The Echo’s Clean Streets campaign is calling for tougher sentences for fly tippers.
Dumped waste was found in Sunderland's back alleyways 3,734 times – accounting for 42% of incidents – and 990 discoveries were made on footpaths and bridleways.
Fly-tipped rubbish can include household waste, white goods and construction waste and environmental Charity Keep Britain Tidy says the crime is being driven by conmen who offer to remove household rubbish for a fee but do not dispose of it correctly.
In Sunderland, small van loads of waste were dumped illegally on 3,201 occasions – 36% of all reports – and 360 other incidents saw enough rubbish dumped to fill a tipper lorry each – costing the council £126,000 to clear.
There were also 91 incidents which required multiple loads to clear, at a cost of £32,760.
Sunderland City Council took action over 1,249 fly-tipping offences in 2019-20, undertaking 593 investigations, sending 150 warning letters and issued 277 fixed penalty notices.
Cllr Graeme Miller, council leader, said: "The council has a responsibility to deal with illegally deposited waste and, where evidence is obtained, we can and we will take action against offenders.
“What came across loud and clear in our Let's Talk consultation last year was that the environment is a top priority for our residents, with calls for more enforcement action as they want to live in a clean and green city.
"As a result the council has invested in additional resources to tackle all aspects of environmental crime.”
He added: Anyone booking a business for waste removal can be held liable by the courts if their rubbish is then fly-tipped. Make sure your waste disposal is legal by asking to see the waste carrier's certificate, as authorised businesses will be able to provide this. "
Cllr Miller said anyone who witnesses fly-tipping can report it at https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/report-flytipping.People can check if the waste collector they're planning to use has a license on the Environment Agency’s website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/access-the-public-register-for-environmental-information or by calling them on 08708 506 506.
David Renard, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “Fly-tipping is inexcusable and continue to urge the Government to review sentencing guidelines so that offenders are given bigger fines as a deterrent."
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “This environmental crime is being driven by ‘man with a van’ operators who are conning the public.
“Some businesses that hold a waste carrier licence are fly-tipping rubbish that households pay them to remove.
“This must stop. Licences should be difficult to get, thoroughly checked and essential to carry out door-to-door waste collection."