Council bosses in South Tyneside have hit back after the borough was branded one of the biggest fly-tipping hotspots in England - but pledged to keep cracking down on offenders.
New figures from the Department of the Environment show the council is dealing with an average of 15 cases of illegally dumped rubbish every day, with 5,933 fly-tipping incidents in the 12 months to March - one of the highest numbers of any local authority in England.
A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said that figure was so high because “reporting methods differ from authority to authority and South Tyneside operates a strict ‘no side waste’ policy. That means that if waste is not in a bin, it is recorded as being illegally dumped.
“Some authorities do not have a ‘no side waste policy’ so waste placed out for collection, but not in the wheeled bin, is not recorded as being illegally dumped.”
She went on to underling the council’s determination to tackle the problem.
She said: “We will always take action against anyone we can identify as being responsible for illegally abandoning waste and have a 100 per cent success rate for taking action through the courts.
“It doesn’t matter whether 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.
“Fly tipping is not only irresponsible and hazardous to the public and wildlife, but unsightly and costly to clean up.”
South Tyneside’s figures represent a three per cent from five years ago. In England, fly-tipping increased by 40% over the same period.
Tipping incidents in South Tyneside most commonly involved volumes of waste that are the equivalent of a small van load but
the area is also seeing increasing numbers of large-scale tips, involving a lorry load of rubbish.
The most common type of rubbish dumped in South Tyneside is household waste, which accounted for 2,585 incidents, followed by black bags of household rubbish.
The majority of fly-tipping sites – 66% of them – were on back alleyway incidents.
The spokeswoman added: “We take the issue of fly-tipping extremely seriously and, through our ‘Report It’ campaign, have made it easier for people to report incidents and would also appeal for people to take details of any vehicles, and the people involved, so that appropriate action can be taken.
“Over the last decade, we have significantly reduced instances of fly-tipping through more awareness raising, education and improving the range of waste disposal services available.”
Anyone with information regarding fly-tipping can call the Council’s Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000, email email@example.com or www.southtyneside.gov.uk/reportit
All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Further information about the many ways waste can be safely and responsibly disposed of in South Tyneside is available at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling”