War on waste as fly-tipping figures labelled 'tip of the iceberg'

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for environment, James Mallinder

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

As a Suffolk council wages its own war on waste, latest figures revealing the scale of fly-tipping have been called the 'tip of the iceberg' by countryside campaigners.

East Suffolk Council's environment chief said there had been a recent increase in the "unacceptable" dumping of waste on public land.

Figures released by Defra last week showed more than 3,000 incidents of fly-tipping were recorded across Suffolk in the year before the first Covid-19 lockdown.

East Suffolk Council environment portfolio holder, James Mallinder said: "It is unpleasant, unnecessary, unsightly and unacceptable, and there is no excuse for it, not even during a pandemic. 

"Not only is fly-tipped waste costly to the taxpayer, it makes it harder for us to focus on delivering the core refuse service that households depend on.”

Mr Mallinder said the council would remove reported fly-tipped waste from public land, and work with landowners to remove waste from private land, but would also seek enforcement action where appropriate.

He urged residents to report suspected fly-tipping to the council's customer service team – but to also "recycle right and waste less" in general.

He said the majority of households were good at recycling, but that confusion over what can and cannot be recycled could cause spoiled bins.

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The Suffolk Waste Partnership has produced a new recycling leaflet, currently being distributed to all households in the district. 

Meanwhile, acting regional director of the Country Land and Business Association, Nick Sandford said Defra's figures, showing almost a million incidents of fly-tipping on public land in 12 months, were "just the tip of the iceberg", and that punishments did not go far enough.

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"Thousands of incidents of fly-tipping take place on private land and these are not included in the statistics," he added.

"Landowners are too often victims of fly-tipping with tyres, asbestos, fridges, building waste and many other types of rubbish dumped on their fields and in gateways. 

"If the landowner doesn’t clear the waste, at personal cost, they can risk prosecution. They are effectively paying the price for being a victim of crime.

“We believe that if a landowner removes the waste from their land, they should then be able to dispose of it free of charge at a local authority disposal site. They should not have to pay the cost to clean up the crimes of others.”

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