Agenda item

Fly-tipping update

To receive a presentation from the Enforcement Officer (Locality).

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Waste and Environment, Councillor Bambridge said that he was pleased with the current progress that was being made by the Fly Tip Enforcement Officer and the difference he was making towards the reduction of fly tipping, and confirmed that Breckland Council were very invested in reducing the littering across the whole of the Breckland area and felt that the results validated the effort that had been made and that it was beginning to make a difference across the district.

 

The Fly Tip Enforcement Officer, James Harding, gave a detailed presentation and explained the background of the role at Breckland Council, what the role currently included such as investigations of fly tipping, abandoned vehicles, unlicensed waste carriers, interviews under caution and importantly, partnership work to aid prevention of fly-tipping and engagement with the public and re-education.

 

He explained the improvement in the statistics of the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices across Breckland and the limitations on fly tip enforcement action during the pandemic. He described how important re-education was in particular engaging with the community through letters, door-to-door visits, social media posts and addressing non-English speaking residents including the translation of information and posters. He believed that social media played an important part and regularly shared information on case studies through the press and social media.

 

Although social media was important, the Fly Tip Enforcement Officer felt that it was also important to remember that there were still many residents who either did not have access to social media or chose not to use it, did not read the newspapers or were not English speaking and with this in mind, he stated he was in the process of identifying community sites where diverse groups met such as shops, bars, restaurants and to maximise communication he would work hard to engage with hard to reach groups.

 

The Enforcement Officer said there was much work still to be done within the Breckland area and hoped there could be an expansion of staff in the team to help tackle a subject that was important to residents across Breckland.

 

Councillor Wilkinson recognised the efforts of the Enforcement Officer and supported the ideas to take it forward and asked if it was appropriate to put posters in hot spot areas to say fly tippers were being watched. He further offered, as a Ward Member to take any posters and help with distribution around his area.

 

The Officer hoped to spend some of the accrued funds through fines and Fixed Penalty Notices to get better designed posters for distribution.

 

Councillor Jermy felt that it was encouraging to see the increase in Fixed Penalty Notices and said there was an awareness now, particularly within his Ward, that it was not acceptable to fly tip. He felt that better publicity on the number of prosecutions would help and better communication on legitimate means of disposal. He felt it should be clearer what items could be taken to the household recycle centres and clearer communication and promotion on what items could be disposed of such as the bulky collection system. Councillor Jermy also felt that the prompt removal of any fly tip was important and that it was unacceptable to see litter and fly tips around the district which encouraged others to add further rubbish to the area.

 

Councillor Jermy also sensed that press releases from a Cabinet Member had limited impact on residents, he believed it would achieve much greater impact if it came from the Chairman of the local Parish Council or Resident’s Group or the farmer who had suffered the fly tip. Someone of local standing who stood up and said that this was not acceptable behaviour within their community.

 

Councillor Turner suggested it was not a simple change but a cultural change that could not be realised in a short period of time. She believed that information should be kept simple, easy to understand and that pictorial information could portray a thousand words. Councillor Turner also felt that better communication on methods of disposal would benefit the residents particularly with free sites and urged Members to promote this information.

 

Councillor Birt said that on the Breckland Council website mapping system, if you went to report a fly tip and dropped the pin on the area, it would let you know if it had already been reported. He felt it might be useful if you could also leave additional pins from each person that reported it so that they could be informed globally when it had been picked up and any successful prosecutions that had resulted from the reporting.

 

The Executive Director Place and Delivery said that it was something that could be investigated and asked that the Assistant Director Customer and Performance investigate the suggestion with the Digital Team.

 

The Executive Member for Waste and Environment said that he was pleased to note from the presentation that there were no repeat offenders for fly tipping which demonstrated that the system was working. He also urged Members to use the ‘Report It’ system on the Breckland Council website and encouraged residents to do the same, rather than contact the Fly Tip Enforcement Officer directly as this would save time as the information would go directly to Serco rather than through the Enforcement Officer.

 

The Chairman asked if there could be the possibility to increase capacity through extra staff to join the Enforcement Team in the near future. The Executive Director Place and Delivery confirmed that this was currently being investigated on how best to increase the capacity and what format it might take.

 

Councillor Nairn said it was pleasing to see the increase in litter picking volunteers during the pandemic.

 

Councillor Bambridge said that Breckland Council had litter picking equipment that they regularly lend out to residents and that Breckland Council would arrange to pick up the bags of litter once the litter pick was finished.

 

Members of the Commission noted the report.

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