Cambridge

The shocking cost of fly-tipping to the taxpayer revealed

Fly-tipping is costing local taxpayers over four million pounds to clear each year, according to new figures.

There are now calls for a 'zero tolerance approach' to the filthy habit, which cost Cambridge residents £144,014 in 2016-17 alone.

It marks an increase of around 34 per cent in illegal dumping in the city, from 1,414 cases in 2015/16 to 1,899 in 2016/17.

The dumped rubbish meant people couldn't access their homes

Union group GMB London Region looked at data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for 47 councils in the east of England.

It found in 2016-2017 there were 75,447 incidents of fly-tipping in the region. This accumulated a total clear-up cost of £4,339,536.

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South Cambridgeshire saw 211 fly tipping incidents recorded, with a bill of £8,762.

Meanwhile East Cambridgeshire faired slightly worse with 214 such incidents, totalling £10,030 in clear up costs which could have otherwise been better spent.

Fly tipping in Fen Road, Chesterton

However Peterborough was the council with the most fly-tipping incidents, not just in Cambridgeshire, but the whole of the east, with 8,186 incidents of illegal dumping.

Peterborough's clearing costs totalled £461,285 – around three times that of Cambridge.

Speaking in November, Anna Smith, executive councillor for streets and open spaces at Cambridge City Council said the council is proactive in tackling the problem.

She said: "Fly-tipping is antisocial and costly. And it is a crime.

Fly-tipping in Wimpole Hall grounds in South Cambridgeshire

"I have been out with both our street cleaning and environmental crime teams, and have seen for myself how much of our team's time is spend dealing with this behaviour.

"Our officers always work hard to find out who the perpetrators are, and if we have evidence, we will always take action.

"People fly tipping rubbish can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £400, or in court can face a fine of up to £50,000 or even imprisonment.

"The money raised through Fixed Penalty Notices is ring-fenced to support our environmental protection work, such as providing body worn cameras for officers and additional enforcement activities. "

A problem that won't go away

In March alone around 50 tonnes of waste was illegally dumped in the Cambridgeshire countryside.

The Environment Agency gathered evidence on two major incidents of fly-tipping on farmland at Duxford and Hinxton.

Photos of the abandoned waste showed towering piles of construction, demolition and municipal waste.

It is believed that the sites were accessed due to the proximity to the M11 motorway.

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Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary said:"Government and local councils have to be more proactive in dealing with fly-tipping.

"There needs to be better education on the costs of dealing with the problem and how people can dispose of rubbish and unwanted items properly.

"Councils must invest in easy-to-access recycling and disposal facilities for residents to use and offer accessible collection schemes for bulk items.

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"Finally, councils have to firmly clamp down on fly-tipping by larger fines, investment in surveillance equipment and rigorous investigation of incidents and follow-up action. Some councils have a poor record on this which encourages an attitude of impunity.

"We need a policy of zero tolerance with action against fly tipping on all fronts at all times."

Fly-tipping costs for Cambridgeshire (2016/17)

1. Cambridge – 1,414 to 1,889 (£144,014)

2. Peterborough – 6,765 to 8,186 (£461,285)

3. South Cambridgeshire – 171 to 211 (£8,762)

4. East Cambridgeshire – 179 to 214 (£10,030)

5. Huntingdonshire – 640 to 692 (£39,387)

In England as a whole, there was 1,002,154 fly-tipping incidents between 2016-2017.

The cost of clearing these totalled a staggering £57,667,483.

Alternatives

As an alternative to taking things to the dump, the council also run community clear up days, where a free free is provided.

These will take place at:

• Birdwood & Tiverton: Saturday April 28

• Thorpe Way & Jack Warren Green: Saturday May 12

• Ditton Fields: Sep/Oct TBC

• Ekin Road: Thursday 12 July

• Wulfstan Way: Saturday 8 September TBC

For advice about disposing of waste responsibly including details of nearby recycling points and the bulky waste collection service, visit the city council's site here or call 01223 458282.

You can also report fly-tipping online here or by calling 01223 458282.

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