'Man in van' warning as fly tipping hits 12-a-day
Council bosses in South Tyneside say they will not hesitate to take action against fly tippers as new figures show illegally dumped rubbish is being reported 12 times a day.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows 4,400 fly-tipping incidents were reported to South Tyneside Council in 2019-20 – an average of 12 a day.
Although the figure is 941 down on the previous year, the Local Government Association say, nationally, these offence costs taxpayers almost £50m a year to clear up.
Dumped waste was found in South Tyneside's back alleyways 2,452 times – accounting for 56% of incidents – and 446 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 South Tyneside, small van loads of waste were dumped illegally 1,831 times – 42% of all reports – and 400 other incidents saw enough rubbish dumped to fill a tipper lorry each – costing the council £126,350 to clear.
There were also 44 incidents which required multiple loads to clear, at a cost of £15,120.
South Tyneside Borough Council took action over 1,353 fly-tipping offences in 2019-20, undertaking 808 investigations, sending 538 warning letters and issuing five fixed penalty notices.
Cllr Ernest Gibson, South Tyneside’s lead member for area management and community Safety, said: “South Tyneside Council takes great pride in the local environment, with teams working extremely hard to keep our beautiful coastline, countryside and communities safe and clean.
“However, there is a small irresponsible minority of people who think they can dump their rubbish in our borough and this is disgraceful.
“Flytipping is unsightly, hazardous to the environment, costly to clean up and a criminal offence.
“We take instances of flytipping very seriously and remain committed to taking action against those responsible wherever possible. It is in everyone’s interests to report incidents and we continue to encourage people to support us and help us to identify those responsible for these crimes.”
He added: “We also urge households to be extremely cautious around those posing as legitimate waste carriers to take waste away. It is important residents check they have a valid waste carrier’s licence and ask for a receipt, otherwise the householder could be prosecuted if the waste is illegally abandoned.”
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."