Councillor Dierdre Costigan, deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action visited Southall with one of the council’s fly-tipping teams last week (4 March) to see the work being done to clear dumped rubbish off the borough’s streets – as well as hold those responsible to account.
She got a first-hand look at how a new system of investigation and enforcement has seen a huge jump in the number of fly-tippers being fined for their irresponsible and illegal behaviour.
Councillor Costigan said: “Ealing is a brilliant place to live but a small minority of people spoil things for the rest of us by fly-tipping in our borough. But we are cracking down with two new ways of making people who spoil our community pay.
“It is notoriously difficult to catch fly-tippers – they often do it at night where there are no witnesses and traditional CCTV images can’t make out the number plate.
“So, we are investing in new state of the art mobile CCTV technology, with dedicated cameras to be installed at known fly-tipping hotspots.
“These cameras will not only capture fly-tipping offences but will have real time number plate recognition, increasing our ability to identify offenders and bring them to justice.
“In the past we’ve issued most fly-tippers with an up to £150 fixed penalty notice if we’ve caught them in the act or been able to find evidence or witnesses.
“But fly tippers don’t play by the rules so they often didn’t bother paying the fine and there was very little we could do.
“So, we’ve brought in a new way of doing things which means that anyone issued a fixed penalty notice for fly-tipping receives a questionnaire under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act which is the same as being interviewed by the police under caution.
“If they fail to pay the fixed penalty notice or continue to fly-tip, they could be prosecuted. This is a much stronger deterrent.
“Since we introduced these measures, payment of fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping has increased from around half to nearly 80%. So, it’s already having a huge impact.
“We receive over 1,000 reports of fly-tipped rubbish every month – that’s about 35 a day. Our fly-tip teams do a great job clearing-up but it costs us over a quarter of a million pounds a year to clean up the mess.
“So not only is fly-tipping a blight on our community, it costs us money that we could be spending on other services.
“Our enforcement teams focus on known hotspots and respond as quickly as possible when a report comes in, but we’re grateful to residents to take the time to let us know there is a problem.
“We also get great support from community volunteer groups such as the brilliant LAGERCan group.
“But fundamentally, we want to prevent fly-tipping before it happens. This new system will help deter repeat offenders in particular, and it will give us the evidence we need to take action.
“We also provide garden and bulky waste collection services for residents who want to do the right thing. And we will now pick up textiles and small electrical items for free too – just place them beside your wheelie bin.
“Fly-tipping is disgusting, irresponsible and illegal – there is no excuse for spoiling things for the rest of us. And that’s why Ealing Council is cracking down.”
Local people can report Fly-tipping online via the council’s website.