IT is, of course, up to the discretion of individual councils if they utilise new powers intended to combat fly-tipping, one of the most thoughtless and senseless scourges on society.
Not only is dumped rubbish and litter a blot on the landscape in England’s ‘green and pleasant land’ immortalised by William Blake, but it is a poor advertisement for the areas concerned.
This is reflected by those local authorities which have raised more than £430,000 from on-the-spot fines – they believe, rightly, that a ‘zero tolerance’ approach is critical to changing attitudes and this mindset needs to be embraced by those councils that have blamed their passive response, and inaction, on Government budget cuts.
If they don’t act, their communities will become unofficial dumping grounds and the town halls concerned need to remember that street cleaning, and so on, is a key component of the council tax ‘contract’.
That said, members of the public have an important role to play as responsible citizens. If they see evidence of fly-tipping, they should report it to their local council – and town halls should make it easier for residents to report occurrences.
Equally it’s not too much to expect residents to pick up litter in their neighbourhood and discard it in their own dustbin. If people spent just a few minutes each week collecting discarded detritus, the selfish minority might just be shamed into changing their behaviour for the better. And there’s another dividend. If there’s more civic pride, councils won’t have to spend so much money on street cleaning.