Fly-tipping on the rise in the region

By Rebecca SheppardFLY-TIPPING in East Anglia is blighting the environment and costing councils thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money to clear away.

By Rebecca Sheppard

FLY-TIPPING in East Anglia is blighting the environment and costing councils thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money to clear away.

Local authorities are fighting an “ongoing battle” against people who dump rubbish illegally, as the possible £20,000 fines do not seem to be acting as a deterrent.

Councils in Essex and Suffolk revealed clearing up the dumped rubbish was jointly costing them more than £350,000.

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Julie White, communications officer for Forest Heath District Council, said: “So far, in this financial year, from April 2003, we have had 530 incidents of fly0tipping, which is quite a lot.

“That includes a diverse range of waste, from household waste to builders' waste. We haven't got exact costs, but it can cost us £15,000 to £20,000 just to remove that waste. It's increasing and it is a growing problem.”

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Mike Daniels, street cleansing manager for Waveney District Council, said: “We have got about four to six weeks of the financial year to go and fly-tipping on our land and our adopted land is costing up to £24,000 at the moment. This is dumping of black bags, furniture and that sort of thing.

“Abandoned cars, which comes under fly-tipping, is costing a similar amount, about £24,000.”

Mr Daniels said that by the end of the financial year there would be a further £5,000 to £6,000 added to the costs, with clearing up after travellers adding almost £5,000 more.

“It is an ongoing battle. If we were not spending so much money on fly-tipping, we could put that money towards making the towns and roads much cleaner, sweeping up places and tidying the areas up,” he said.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said illegal rubbish dumping was costing the authority about £40,000 a year, with much of the rubbish being found in rural lanes.

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said the amount of fly-tipped waste it removed each year came to about 35 tonnes and added the authority received, on average, about three complaints per week about dumped rubbish.

He said the council employed a litter warden who removed tipping waste, cleaned litter hotspots and responded to complaints, which costs about £20,000 a year.

Rodney Cook, general manager for street care with Ipswich Borough Council, said although the number of cases of illegal rubbish dumping being reported had decreased, he estimated fly-tipping would cost the authority in the region of £8,000 to clear up.

Tim Swain, street care manager with Mid Suffolk District Council, said it was on a fixed price contract with a sub-contractor, which cleaned away dumped materials.

But because fly-tipping had increased so much, the contractor was now working at a financial loss.

Mr Swain said the rubbish dumped in the district included tyres, guttering, conifers and even dangerous asbestos and he estimated the costs would be “in excess of £10,000”.

He added: “It's frightening. It goes in phases. It's an absolute nuisance, is unsightly, dangerous and done by irresponsible people. If they can get away with it, they will do it anywhere.”

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said although fly-tipping had not increased in the area, it had cost the authority £9,900 between April 2003 and January 2004.

It was likely that that figure would increase to about £12,000 by next month, she added.

John Parish, from the Environment Agency, said there had been drums of chemicals, clinical waste and asbestos dumped in East Anglia.

“It is pretty bad. One of the biggest problems is that a lot of people that are doing it are rogue traders. It is on the increase. We have little phases of it as the landfill charges go up,” he added.

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