East Suffolk Council reports increased fly-tipping during Covid pandemic

Hundreds of instances of fly-tipping have been recorded in East Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

East Suffolk Council said it investigated fly tips where possible to see if the offenders can be identified - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Fly-tipping in East Suffolk soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, latest data has showed - and efforts to work on a joined-up policy across the county could be a means of cracking down on offenders.

East Suffolk Council's scrutiny committee on Thursday evening assessed the problem in the district, with data presented indicating that Quarter 3 of 2020 saw more than 600 reports - nearly double the 350 reports seen in Quarter 4 of 2019.

However, figures for Q4 of 2020 had showed a downward trend to 500.

Waste disposed at the roadside in Foxhall, only a mile from a refuse centre Picture: ARCHANT

Fly-tipping has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic in East Suffolk, new data indicated - Credit: Archant

Of just over 500 reported at the end of 2020, 256 were the size of a small van load, while 139 roughly equated to a car boot size load.

Conservative cabinet member for the environment, James Mallinder, said the council was using social media to shame those illegally dumping waste, and has said a joined-up policy across the county could be explored.

"I think there is some real scope doing some collective work, maybe through the county and collecting the districts together because it is not isolated to East Suffolk," he said.

"I am sure there are people driving from other districts into our district to dump rubbish - particularly as it is a rural community and it is impossible to police every road. I think there is definitely some scope for having some joined up policies going across all districts."

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for environment, James Mallinder

Conservative cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk Council, James Mallinder - Credit: East Suffolk Council

For some cases investigations are carried out to try and identify the culprits - particularly on household waste dumps where some items could reveal those behind the crime, while fixed penalty notices and prosecutions were also pursued where possible.

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Caroline Topping from the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, questioned whether the move to booking slots at Suffolk's recycling centres introduced by Suffolk County Council during the pandemic to aid social distancing had had an impact. She added: "People are finding it difficult to book in cars - I think with trailers it is particularly difficult to book in, vans are finding it difficult as there aren't enough spots."

Beccles and Worlingham councillor Caroline Topping said carers could not get parking permits for any

Caroline Topping from East Suffolk Council's Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group - Credit: GLI Group

Labour's Louise Gooch said "we are at a crisis point with this," and suggested more education for offenders: "We need to change people's behaviour, and in order to get people to behave differently we have to get people to think differently."

The committee is set to come up with a series of recommendations at its meeting in June when waste will be further scrutinised.

Visit the website here to find out more on reporting dumped waste.

East Suffolk Council Labour councillor Louise Gooch said Lowestoft had many assets. Picture: NEIL CO

East Suffolk Labour councillor Louise Gooch - Credit: Neil Coleby