1 September 2011

Fly-tipping v Littering

In today’s Chronicle & Echo we hear of the £300,000 spent by the Borough Council in clearing up fly-tipping in the last financial year. Three things surprised me:-
  1. The cost of the clear-up
  2. The poor prosecution level despite the amount spent on combating the problem
  3. The level of fines imposed, at a little over £200 per prosecution, is no deterrent as this in little more than the cost of tipping legally.
The fine needs to be considerably higher. The law allows courts to make an order requiring the offender to pay for the costs associated with the enforcement and investigation of the case, the seizure of any vehicles that were involved in the offence and costs for the removal of the illegally deposited waste. The court may also make an order to deprive the offender of his rights to a vehicle (and its contents) if the court is satisfied that the vehicle was used to commit the offence.

Why isn’t this being applied?

Fly-tipping is the criminal act of a few people discarding loads of rubbish, but on the other side there is the anti-social act of many people discarding small amounts of litter, the sum total is similar. But whilst fly-tipping is contained within confined areas litter is spread though out the town. Many who condemn fly-tipping are not averse to discarding food wrappers.

Littering needs to be attacked through education, which is appropriate because one one the main areas of littering is around upper school

It is impossible to control littering by legal action, there’s just too much of it and as is seen with fly-tipping is mostly ineffectual. Only education can reduce littering, which would be appropriate as a good proportion of it takes place around our upper schools.

As a first step should schools and businesses, particularly those providing food, be made responsible for keeping the areas in their vicinity free from litter? For new businesses this could be done through planning approval. After all it is mostly their pupils or customers that are causing it. Next provide more litter bins which are emptied regularly. And finally bring back deposits on drink bottles and cans.

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