Councils having to foot bill for illegal flytippers

Rubbish in the street on Upwell Lane, Sheffield.Rubbish in the street on Upwell Lane, Sheffield.
Rubbish in the street on Upwell Lane, Sheffield.
YORKSHIRE COUNCILS are spending almost £4m a year cleaning up after illegal fly-tippers, yet reaped just £36,000 in fines - prompting calls for tougher action.

Government figures show more than 67,390 incidents of fly-tipping were recorded by Yorkshire’s local authorities in 2013/14, the most recent available.

But in that same year, just 188 cases came to court, with £36,350 dished out in fines. Courts can fine and even jail those responsible, but currently council’s do not have the power to issue on-the-spot fines - something campaigners say is well over due.

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Keep Britain Tidy is campaigning for the Government to introduce a dedicated Minister for Litter, and allow councils to issue fines of £1,000 to offenders.

Last month, The Yorkshire Post launched its Clean Up Yorkshire campaign after revealing how keeping the region’s streets clean is costing £77m a year.

The Defra fly-tipping figures show Sheffield had the highest number of incidents - more than 18,000, and spent more than any other authority on cleaning up fly-tipping - £808,792. Despite this, there were just 25 prosecutions resulting in £1,900 in fines. The number of incidents puts Sheffield the sixth worst authority in England for fly-tipping.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for environment, Coun Terry Fox, said the authority had made a “specific commitment” to tackling fly-tipping, and was using a variety of initiatives to tackle the problem, including a poster campaign and using height restrictions in parks to stop van drivers entering to dump waste.

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He said: “We have made huge inroads into this problem at a time of severe local authority cuts, and will work as hard as we can to ensure that we continue to do so.”

The figures suggest Hull is most proactive authority, with the most prosecutions and fines over the period, and taking almost half the regional sum in fines - £16,405 through 58 prosecutions.

Coun Alan Clark, Hull Council’s portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and communities, reassured residents they remain committed to reducing fly-tipping.

Bradford Council spent over £500,000 clearing up 8,867 incidents - the third highest figure in Yorkshire. It reaped back just £3,680 in fine.

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A council spokesperson said is used “all possible means” to investigate incidents and urged the public to report fly-tipping.

Across England in the same period, 852,000 incidents of fly-tipping were recorded, an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year. The vast majority involved household waste.

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Richard McIlwain said: “The message needs to be sent out loud and clear that littering and fly-tipping socially unacceptable.”

Samantha Harding, Stop the Drop campaign manager for the CPRE, partners in Clean Up Yorkshire, said: “The deliberate, selfish nature of fly-tipping infuriates me. It seems nowhere is safe, either at the end of your street or out in the countryside, you can still find other people’s rubbish.”

A Defra spokesperson said fly-tipping “remains a priority” for the Government.