Lockdown rise in fly-tipping in Sunderland followed drop in illegal dumping rates, say city chiefs
Fly-tipping reports in Sunderland increased since the start of lockdown after incidents had been falling, say council chiefs.
According to city bosses, the number of times they were alerted to dumped waste fell at the beginning of 2020.
But following the government’s decision to impose strict social distancing rules to try and halt the spread of coronavirus at the end of March, figures have begun to creep up once again.
“These incidents were mainly small van load size tips,” said Coun Michael Mordey, the deputy leader of Sunderland City Council.
“The council has recently seized two vehicles believed to have been fly-tipping at certain locations and tipping there has now ceased.
“We have also recently installed surveillance cameras at several fly-tipping hot spots.
“With the re-introduction of bulky waste collection services – six items for £10 – and the re-opening of the two Household Waste and Recycling Centres, it’s anticipated that these services are helping some householders manage and dispose of their waste appropriately.”
The Echo has been running its Clean Streets campaign, encouraging people to keep the city tidy.
In 2019, national data identified Sunderland as one of the worst places in the country for fly-tipping.
According to figures from the council, there were 3,009 reports of fly-tipping in the first four months of 2019, compared to 2,994 in 2020.
However, it is not currently clear whether a recent increase is due to more illegal dumping or more people reporting waste.
Local authorities have the power to confiscate any vehicle suspected of being involved in environmental crime or fly-tipping.
Coun Mordey added: “Fly-tipping is illegal, unsightly, unacceptable, and irresponsible.
“This council has and continues to increase its powers and budgets on taking action against litter bugs.”
Coun Robert Oliver, leader of the city council’s Conservative opposition group, has called for the ‘worst offenders’ to be given the maximum possible punishment’, in light of recent increase in fly-tipping reports.
Coun Niall Hodson, leader of Wearside’s Liberal Democrats, has recommended a ‘community skip scheme’ to deter fly-tipping by making legal waste disposal more convenient.