It is difficult catching the fly-tippers costing Essex authorities thousands, says councillor

An illegal fly tip site. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

An illegal fly tip site. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

North Essex councils are spending tens of thousands of pounds cleaning up rubbish dumped by fly-tippers – but are achieving few prosecutions.

Cleaning up rubbish dumped by fly-tippers has cost councils in north Essex tens of thousands of pounds in the last year – but just 11 prosecutions have been brought against offenders.

According to figures released by the Department of the Environment, the five authorities in the area reported between 200 and 1,350 incidents during the 2014/15 financial year.

But of these just one council – Braintree – brought any prosecutions, which resulted in fines totalling £4,790. The 764 incidents reported in the county during the 12 months amounted to clearance costs of £45,600.80

Mike Talbot, portfolio holder for the environment at Tendring DC, said one reason for the low levels of prosecutions was because of the challenges faced trying to prove who dumped what.

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“It is a problem everywhere,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult, you have to see it being dumped.

“You have very few people who would be prepared to go and stand up (in court) against the sort of people who collect this stuff and dump it anywhere.”

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Tendring had to pay £46,089 clearing up after fly-tippers last year with 846 incidents recorded.

Colchester Borough Council was hit hardest by illegally-dumped rubbish in north Essex, forking out more then £69,000 clearing up 1,349 incidents.

Meanwhile Maldon DC appears to have got off relatively lightly: It recorded 232 incidents, the lowest in this part of the county, and spent the least (£14,233.20) on clearing them up.

Mr Talbot said he didn’t feel the problem of fly-tipping in Tendring had got out of hand but the fewer places there were for people to legitimately take rubbish, the greater the “temptation, rather than drive the extra distance, to dump it by the road if they can’t be seen”.

He continued: “It’s a problem for all local authorities and it becomes more of a problem when you are trying to save money.

“If it’s off the public highway some poor farmer might be charged to clear up off his land.”

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