300 per cent increase in fly-tipping in the district over five years

PUBLISHED: 08:27 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:27 29 November 2018

A fly-tip in Great Canfield which blocked a road. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

A fly-tip in Great Canfield which blocked a road. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

There is almost one fly-tipping incident every day in Uttlesford, new figures have shown.

Data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has revealed the“epidemic” facing councils across England with almost a million incidents recorded in 2017-18.

In Uttlesford, there were 356 fly-tipping incidents between March 2017 and March 2018, an increase of 309 per cent from five years ago, when there were 87.

Across England, fly-tipping increased by 40 per cent over the same period.

Great Canfield is an Uttlesford village which has seen a “huge” increase in the number of fly-tipping incidents, according to the Great Canfield Parish Council chairman.

Councillor Robert Mackley said: “The increase in fly-tipping in the parish over the last five years is huge. We have had four major fly-tipping incidents since February this year that have shut the roads.”

Cllr Mackley said there had been many other minor incidents, going on to say: “Many residents have lived in this pretty well-kept village for many years and they just find it soul destroying what is happening. It seems we are fighting a losing battle, not against the fly-tippers but also those who don’t think twice about chucking litter or food remains out of their moving car.

“The type of waste has changed from what I would call cowboy builder and ‘can’t be bothered to go to the tip’ waste to what I could best describe as organised crime.”

Clearing up the rubbish and taking action against perpetrators is estimated to have cost Uttlesford District Council (UDC) about £31,000 last year.

Councillor Susan Barker, cabinet member for environmental services at UDC said: “As the figures issued by Defra highlight, fly-tipping is a growing problem across the UK. Improvements in the way incidents are now recorded and reported may, in part, explain the significant increase in the number of fly-tips reported in the district in the past few years. However, this does not lessen the problem or the impact that fly-tipping has. It is unsightly, it spoils our countryside and harms wildlife, and it costs money to clean up when these resources could be better spent on other vital community services.

“Fly-tipping is simply unacceptable and tackling it is one of the council’s key priorities. Additional resources have been put into the Street Services team to fund more staff and a new van to make up a rapid response team to clear fly-tips. We have joined other local councils in Essex and the Environment Agency in setting up a new group which will look at ways in which to combat this issue on a countywide scale.

“We would also remind residents that they can play their part in helping to reduce fly-tipping by ensuring they use a licensed waste carrier to remove their waste and not passing it onto a rogue trader. If you do give your waste to someone else and it is dumped, you could end up with an unlimited fine and criminal record. There are some easy checks you can do to protect yourself and the environment. Further advice is available on the Council’s website.

“Finally, we would encourage people to let us know about any incidents of fly-tipping, as well as littering and other environmental issues. Please complete an online form at www.uttlesford.gov.uk/streetcare and include as much detail as possible, or contact the council at wasteaware@uttlesford.gov.uk or 01799 510510. Our enforcement team will investigate every incident to try to track down those responsible, and when we do find evidence we will take the appropriate course of action.”

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities, said councils were determined to “end the scourge” of fly-tipping in the country.

Councillor Martin Tett, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: “This new analysis shows the scale of the fly-tipping epidemic we face in this country.”

Cllr Tett continued: “Councils are determined to protect local environments. New fixed penalty notice powers from the Government will help but every single conviction for more serious fly-tipping offences still results in council taxpayers having to pick up the bill.

“We need to make sure that when councils take offenders to court, a faster, more effective legal system ensures that serious fly-tipping offences

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