Agenda item

Lindsay Ferris asked the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure the following question:



There has been a significant increase in the number of fly tipping events in the recent past. My understanding is that it now exceeds 1100 such events.


Can you advise what the cost to the Council has been associated with clearing these fly tipping incidents?




(Councillor Ferris clarified that the figures contained in his question had been obtained from documentation issued by the Community Safety Partnership which covered figures for July 17-June 18 (741) and July 18-June 19 (1148))


There has been a significant increase in the number of fly-tipping events in the recent past. My understanding is that it now exceeds 1100 such events.


Can you advise what the cost to the Council has been associated with clearing these fly-tipping incidents?



As a responsible Council, I would like to keep our beautiful Borough looking beautiful by taking positive action to prevent and eradicate fly-tipping. But this will inevitably be at a cost and I am happy to advise the costs that we have incurred.


During 2018/19 there were 1,117 incidents of fly-tipping reported to the Council.  This is an average of 93 per month.


The cost for collecting these fly-tips was £103,000, with a further £42,000 being spent on disposing of the waste.  Therefore the total cost for the year was £145,000.


Within the first six months of this year, which is 2019/20, incidents of fly-tipping have reduced to an average of 71 incidents per month.  Costs for this year have been £43,000 for collection and £18,000 for disposal, making a total cost of clearing fly-tipping of about £61,000.


Just to go back to your figures I have got a figure for 2016/17 of 857, which was about a 71 average per month, and 2017/18 which was 747 which was about 62 incidents per month on average.  The average for this year I have already quoted to you.


Whilst I am pleased to see that our efforts this year to combat fly-tipping are already having a positive effect upon the number of incidents being reported to us, we are committed to doing more to further reduce the impact of fly-tipping on the lives of our residents.


We have a comprehensive action plan in place now, and Mark Redfearn is overseeing that one, to make improvements in how we respond to fly-tipping and more importantly how we can prevent it happening in the first place.  You will have seen the recent good news about how we are checking local businesses to make sure that they have the correct waste disposal arrangements in place, and very soon we will be launching our Countryside Watch initiative to work with the local communities to deter fly-tipping in their areas.


Supplementary Question

My reason for asking the question was the concern, I am not using the Council’s figures here for the increase.  The exact levels does seem to be 700, 800, 900, 1000.  I was also told that it was a large number in the first 3 or 4 months of this year; January to March/April was a very busy time and it has come down slightly since is the message I have received.


My concern is that we have now got, and it is not just unique to here it is across the country, we have got a significant cost and I do not know where exactly it occurs in the budget.  So I think there does need to be a budget line for this because it is not going to go away unfortunately. 


Do we have a handle on what is causing the change in the level of fly-tipping that has been occurring as it has certainly been going up over the years and it is higher now than it was a few years ago and I would like to understand that.  One area of concern to me has been the introduction of the charges for DIY waste and I would like to understand anything within those figures whether there has been any impact of charging for residents to put their waste in because I have been told that a lot of the fly-tipping is from what would be residents.  It is relatively small parts of waste but it is fly-tipped and dumped.


Supplementary Answer

I totally share your concerns and that is the real reason why we have taken action to put an action plan in place to identify the sort of things that you have been talking about recently.  Fly-tipping varies from area to area and as I quoted the figures 2016/17 when we did not have those charges in place there were 71 incidents per month.  2017/18 it dropped down to 62 fly-tips and 93 2018/19 and it is a possibility that perhaps charges made.  It is human nature I think to say why should I pay and in fact at night drop it somewhere in a country lane.  But that is not an excuse for them to do that.  We are going to be very, very active in pursuing these people that are fly-tipping and there is an action plan in place to actually monitor that.


Comments were made by the following Members:


Councillor Ferris.  My Group is more than willing to help as this is quite a significant cost and problem not just in the cost terms but also the environment and disruption to residents across the Borough so we are more than happy to work together if you want to put a working group together because I think this probably does need one to be taken forward.


John Kaiser.  We welcome the collaborative approach to this.  It is not a PR stunt we really are concerned about it and it is a serious issue and you would be involved in that.  I will speak to Parry afterwards and we will invite you to come along when it is being presented to us by the Officers.


Pauline Jorgensen.  We have just arranged to do a clean up on the A329M of a very large amount of fly-tipped tyres.  A lot of the fly-tipping, certainly that Highways come across, isn’t domestic waste actually it is business waste that is picked up either by fly by night operators that do not have Waste Operating Licences and are trying to do jobs on the cheap.  So we have got an arrangement, that has just been approved, to do some more clean-up on the A329M on the embankments which will require a lane closure and will be done in November some time.  So we are very keen to remove as much fly-tipping as we can.  Certainly my view is that the more fly-tipping we get rid of the less likely people are to tip and the more people that we publicise for being caught for fly-tipping the less likely the people are to follow them and if we are really clear with residents that you need a Waste Carriers Licence in order to take waste away and they should not be giving waste to any passing person with a white van.  That they are liable for their waste rather than the person who is actually tipping the more likely we are that people will not do fly-tipping.


Wayne Smith.  A couple of things to add Lyndsay.  I think one of the biggest areas is with skip collection.  Now skip companies are getting super forensic on what is going in skips and you know you can get a six yard skip for £246 from Collards.  I know that because I have got one on my drive.   What you are seeing is plasterboard, paint and other areas and what we are noticing, and I think where we can all help the Borough is some of these people who are dropping waste.  We have a big problem in Ruscombe in one particular lane, they are dropping waste but leaving the details of where the job was so we have just had a situation in Hurst where whoever dropped it must be stupid as they left the details of the person where the new bathroom was being installed.  So that is being pursued, as you can imagine, by the appropriate channels.  But I think one of the biggest issues is domestic trade waste.  Not so much individuals this is companies knowing just how expensive it is to get rid of this.  Most people do not realise that you cannot put plasterboard in a skip.  They know about paint but things like plasterboard most of us do not realise that you cannot put it in a skip and it costs you about three times the amount if you fill a skip with plasterboard.