Thousands of fly-tipping incidents across Suffolk in one year
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
More than 3,000 incidents of fly-tipping were recorded by councils across Suffolk in the year before the first national Covid-19 lockdown, according to latest environmental figures.
A total of 3,223 incidents of rubbish and waste being illegally dumped were recorded by between the beginning of April 2019 and the end of March 2020.
It took the total amount of incidents recorded across Suffolk in five years to 15,588 – but marked a fall compared the previous year's record total of 3,680.
Black bag or other household waste incidents accounted for more than two-thirds (69%) of the total.
With a population of 70,000 more than any other local authority in the county, East Suffolk Council recorded the most incidents (1,594), followed by West Suffolk Council and Ipswich.
West Suffolk Council was the only local authority to record a rise in incidents – from 567 in 2018/19 to 630 in 2019/20.
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs statistics showed that West Suffolk handed out the most warning letters (222) and fixed penalty notices (13), and launched the most prosecutions (five), recouping £2,326 in fines.
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Last May, the council’s Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee heard how the rise in cases was likely down to improvements in recording processes and targeted enforcement in hotspot areas.
A report added: "We will investigate every incident that is reported to us, and where we are able to obtain evidence that allows us to identity an offender, will take enforcement action in line with councils enforcement policy."
Only the last week of the 2019/20 reporting period coincided with the national lockdown commencing March 23.
In April, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for the environment, James Mallinder warned there was ‘no excuse’ for people fly-tipping waste while refuse centres were closed.
It followed several instances of rubbish being dumped on Suffolk’s in the opening few weeks of the first lockdown.
Last week, Babergh District Council launched an investigation into "industrial scale" fly-tipping, including mattresses, floor coverings, plastic sheets and dozens of black bags full of rubbish, near Alton Water.