Flytippers cost Sunderland taxpayers £850,000

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COUNCIL chiefs have vowed to clean up around the city after it was revealed that fly-tipping is costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Figures show that there were 15,772 cases of fly-tipping across Sunderland last year - the second highest in the region.

Councillor James Blackburn

Councillor James Blackburn

The cost to investigate the cases was £138,066, while clean-up costs incurred were a further £715,762.

Councillor James Blackburn, Portfolio Holder for City Services at the City Council, said: “Increased staff reporting and responding is in line with Government directions and is part of the council’s on-going drive to improve cleanliness and improve responses.

“In 2010, the city council issued dozens of front-line employees with mobiles and handheld computers to report issues such as fly-tipping, litter and vandalism.

“Use of these devices means that council employees whose work includes tasks such as emptying bins, sweeping the streets, and cutting the grass, are now reporting more issues they spot when they are out and about undertaking their duties within the city.

“We encourage everybody to report fly-tipping as soon as possible.

“We all have a duty to be proud of where we live and the council investigates all reports.”

The number of incidents of rubbish dumped on public land rose for the second year running last year, and of those, there were 34 people prosecuted.

Court fines for those prosecutions totalled £10,333.

Items dumped include electrical items, building materials and household waste, as well as animal carcasses and asbestos.

Throughout the North East the number of incidents of fly-tipping increased, despite the figure reducing nationally.

Newcastle had the worst problem with 19,278 call outs. County Durham had 6,839.

The figures were released by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

They came with warnings that the problem is much worse than the figures reveal, as they do not take into account the rubbish being dumped on private land, across the regions countryside.

Anyone who sees rubbish being dumped in Sunderland is urged to contact the Neighbourhood Helpline on 0300 1000 101.

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull