'Man in van' warning as fly tipping hits four-a-day
Council bosses in Hartlepool say they will not hesitate to take action against fly tippers as new figures show illegally dumped rubbish is being reported four times a day.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows 1,586 fly-tipping incidents were reported to Hartlepool Borough Council in 2019-20 – an average of four a day.
The Local Government Association say, nationally, these offence costs taxpayers almost £50m a year to clear up.
Dumped waste was found in Hartlepool's back alleyways 547 times – accounting for 34% of incidents – and 253 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 Hartlepool, small van loads of waste were dumped illegally 543 times – 34% of all reports – and 93 other incidents saw enough rubbish dumped to fill a tipper lorry each – costing the council £116,250 to clear.
There were also 22 incidents which required multiple loads to clear, at a cost of £22,000.
The council took action over 1,526 fly-tipping offences in 2019-20. underting 1,468 investigations and issuing 35 fixed penalty notices.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “Fly-tipping is a blight on the local environment and we are determined to tackle it as part of our ongoing commitment to keep the Borough as clean and tidy as possible.
“Fly-tipping is on the increase. There were 3,207 recorded incidents in 2020 compared to 2,017 in 2019 and the cost of clearing it was £233,000 in 2019/20.
“We all have a part to play in trying to reverse this trend.
“We will always prosecute offenders where we have sufficient evidence, so we would urge residents to act as our eyes and ears at all times by reporting suspected fly-tippers and providing as much detail as possible, including the details of any vehicles involved in dumping.”
He added: “Where residents arrange for their own waste to be taken away by a private operator because they have a legal “duty of care” to ensure that the operator is properly licensed with the Environment Agency.
“We would also encourage residents to use the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) in Burn Road and our Bulky Waste Collection Service."
People can report fly-tipping, book a bulky waste collections or book a slot at the HWRC at online.hartlepool.gov.uk or by telephoning (01429) 523333.
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."