Illegal rubbish dumpers cost cash-strapped council bosses in South Tyneside more than £200,000 in one year, new figures have revealed.
New fly-tipping statistics show that the local authority dealt with 6,934 incidents in the 2013/14 financial year, costing South Tyneside Council – which is facing making £22 million in cuts – a total of £228,822.
We’ve got to crack down on these people. They make the place look horrible.Coun Jeff Milburn
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs figures show this was the cost of investigating fly-tipping, cleaning up and issuing warning letters.
The cost of investigations alone was £120,747.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “It is disgraceful that people think they can dump their rubbish in our borough.
“Fly-tipping is irresponsible and can be hazardous to the public and wildlife, particularly if targeted by arsonists. Not to mention it is unsightly and costly to clean up.”
She added: “We take the issue extremely seriously and are working closely with South Tyneside Homes to take a proactive approach to enforcement against environmental issues in our communities.
“This includes training more officers to issued Fixed Penalty Notices. We also encourage people to report incidents they come across and appeal for people to take details of any vehicles and the people involved, if they can.
“We will always take action against anyone who we can identify as being responsible for illegally abandoning waste across the borough and have a 100% success rate for taking action through the courts.
“It doesn’t matter if it is one bin bag of rubbish in a back lane or large quantities of waste dumped at the roadside, fly-tipping is a criminal offence and we will not tolerate it.
Coun Jeff Milburn, the Conservative representative for Cleadon and East Boldon, who regularly speaks out against fly-tipping, backed the council’s stance.
He said: “We’ve got to crack down on these people. They make the place look horrible.
“People who fly-tip should be prosecuted and taken to court. I think it’s money well spent.”
South Tyneside Council issued 3,131 warning letters in 2013-14, costing £103,323.
Nationally, local authorities dealt with 852,000 incidents of fly-tipping in 2013-14, a 20% increase on the previous year, with nearly two-thirds of fly-tips involving household waste.
The estimated national clearance cost is £45.2million.
In Sunderland, 2,476 actions were taken against fly-tipping. There were 1,617 in Gateshead and 137 in North Tyneside.
Coun Tracey Dixon added: “Over the last ten years, incidents of fly-tipping have dramatically reduced from nearly 17,000, through more awareness raising, education and improving the range of waste disposal services available.
Our Recycling Village at Middlefields, South Shields, is open daily from 9am and 6pm, and longer over Bank Holidays.
“We’ve also made it easier for people to report incidents and are committed to reducing the number even further.”
To report fly-tipping, call 0191 427 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.