Agenda item

Fly Tipping Review

To receive a progress report on fly tipping from Environmental Protection Team.

Minutes:

Councillor Webb explained that the report of the Fly Tipping Task and Finish Group had been circulated to Members and the results had been previously presented to the OSC. The outcomes highlighted a couple of areas of improvement, a need to improve ease by which public could report fly tips and enforcement had been limited for a number of years.

 

A new Enforcement Officer had since been employed and progress had been achieved in working with Norfolk Waste Partnership. Councillor Webb reassured Members that there was now a clear prioritisation of resource and that a zero tolerance was being adopted which was what the public wanted.

 

The Communities and Environmental Services Manager, Steve James introduced the Enforcement Officer, James Harding who he had brought experience and dedication to moving enforcement forwards. Members were informed that, over the last few months the Council had issued 6 fixed penalty notices across the district. Three had been for fly tipping, one for littering, one for fly posting and one for an individual who did not have a waste carrier’s licence. A removal service had been conducted without a waste carrier’s licence and then a fly tip had occurred on an estate in Thetford. The Enforcement Officer had worked significantly hard with partners such as the police, interviewing the individual under caution, networking with Norfolk County Council, and using CCTV footage to bring that to a conclusion where a fixed penalty notice had been issued. The individual had accepted the guilt and is currently on a 6 month payment plan to repay the amount he owed.

 

The Communities and Environmental Services Manager went on to explain that he had also focussed efforts on wider community work, primarily on the Abbey Estate, the High Street and Butten Island in Thetford. On The Abbey Estate there had been frequent fly tipping which was cleared daily by Serco and had become routine behaviour. Over the last month, officers had attended the estate twice a week, hoping to identify perpetrators by having a visible presence and educating the perpetrators on their duties under the legislation of how to dispose of their waste properly. This would be continued over the summer to help prevent any escalation of issues.

 

Butten Island was a place where there was a prevalence of day drinkers and general anti-social behaviour. Officers had attended the site on multiple occasions and engaged directly with individuals involved. All were working with the Police in terms of how this could be dealt with, which could lead to the issuing of Community Protection Warning Notices. This work would continue.

 

The Team had been engaging internally with the Digital Team and with the ICT Web Team about improving the ease of which people could report fly tipping. Positive feedback had been received and evidence of a fly tip being reported had been collected within 30 minutes.

 

The Chairman explained that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission had been instrumental in both scrutinising and driving forward this progress, and hopefully it would continue and performance would be improved.

 

Councillor Nairn asked for confirmation on the cost of a fixed penalty notice. The Enforcement Officer, James Harding, confirmed that if it was paid within 10 working days it was £300, post 10 working days was £400.

 

Councillor Nairn also asked about waste licences and where the responsibility lied for checking that a carrier had a licence. The Communities and Environmental Services Manager confirmed the ultimate responsibility lied with the person using the service. The public needed to check that the company had an appropriate licence. He also explained that Norfolk County Council were running a ‘Scrap It’ campaign to raise public awareness. The Communities and Environmental Service Manager said that he could work with communications to publicise the message further. Councillor Nairn felt that the Council should also publicise and suggested using Facebook and Twitter to make residents more aware. Councillor Webb agreed that more publicising should be undertaken to ensure the public had the necessary information to make informed choices to dispose of waste.

 

Councillor Wickerson said that this was not unique to Breckland but countywide, possibly national. The public were unsure what they could dispose of and where to take it. The Task & Finish Group established a misunderstanding from the public and he would be interested in any conversations with Norfolk Waste Partnership. The Communities and Environmental Services Manager pointed out that the Head of Waste for Norfolk County Council had attended the Task & finish Group and it had been established that there was a misunderstanding from the residents on what they could or could not take to the Recycle Centres.  Research figures showed when they were reviewed that the nature of the fly tips collected, a significant amount could have been taken to the Recycle Centres, and residents should have been better informed.

 

Councillor Nairn explained although there was a charge for some waste, the charge was for a measured quantity but it seemed that people were being charged the full amount.

 

The Communities and Environmental Services Manager stated the policy decision had been taken by Norfolk County Council. If the commission felt that this matter should be further explored, the Head of Waste could be invited back to the Commission to establish if that policy decision needed to be reviewed in line with the changes that Breckland Council was making to deal with fly tipping.

 

It was agreed that the Head of Waste should be invited back to a future meeting. It would be added to the Work Programme accordingly.

 

Councillor Turner agreed that there was not enough publicity in relation to waste disposal. She suggested publicising information on free sites, where no money changed hands. Councillor Turner also suggested further information for residents might be useful, particularly in a multi-cultural society as well as HMOs explaining possibly in pictorial form what goes in which bin.

 

Councillor Kiddle-Morris pointed out that another area that needed to be looked at was fly tipping on private land. These costs had to be borne by the land owner were unacceptable and unjust and something that should be investigated. He drew attention to para 1.3 of the report where it mentioned materials being used and asked for this to be explained.

 

He also questioned the Norfolk Waste Enforcement Group, and asked when this had been set up and how often this met and whether it was a robust enough body to cope with these matters.

 

The Communications and Environmental Services Manager explained that fly tipping on private land remained with the land owner, however, this was something the Team were looking at and were working with the land owners where possible.

 

In response to the question about the materials being used, the Communications and Environmental Services Manager stated that this was publicity educational material as a result of a trial from a local authority, largely social media based, that had been sent out in order to educate the communities. This had resulted in a positive impact and Norfolk County Council had followed that template and used that mechanism. He would be happy to circulate it to Members for information.

 

The Communications and Environmental Service Manager then went on to explain that the Norfolk Waste Enforcement Group reported directly into the Norfolk Waste Partnership. Breckland Council did not have representation on it, however the group could be shaped to make it more effective.

 

Councillor Kiddle-Morris stated Norfolk County Council had arranged a hazardous waste amnesty in September, as well as a new scheme for re-cycling re-usable paint. He felt that his should be advertised through communications.

 

Councillor Clarke welcomed the progress made so far and was aware, as being part of the Task & Finish Group, where there had been particular concentrations of fly tipping either by volume or incidents. He was pleased that the report had been issued and encouraged Members to read it. The heat map was of particular interest. Also Ward Members needed to be included, if there were any fly tips that the team were investigating in their wards. He also felt that Members should be the ‘eyes and ears’ for the community and report back to the Enforcement Team if necessary.

 

Councillor Eagle asked if the Council could publicise a list of Waste Licence Carriers on the website. Members discussed the pros and cons to maintain an up to date list. It was felt the public should be made aware of their responsibilities.  The Communication and Environmental Services Manager would look into this and investigate feasible options.

 

Councillor Bushell suggested getting this information out in a leaflet form which could be made available at surgeries.

 

Councillor Kiddle-Morris suggested CCTV cameras. In response Councillor Webb confirmed that this was already being considered.