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New campaign aims to hit fly-tippers hard

The ongoing drive from Waltham Forest Council to hammer down hard on enviro-crime has got a new focus with a fly-tipping campaign launched to go even further in eradicating this anti-social practice. 


The Council understands the impact fly-tipping can have on communities and the environment and has waged a war on fly-tippers for a number of years, reducing incidents of fly-tipping in the borough by a third and being one of the most active enforcers of all London boroughs.


In November last year the Council embarked on a nine month trial, employing four Environmental Enforcement Officers and one Team Manager from NSL – the contractor that already provides parking services to the borough. 


“By having NSL officers address low level enviro-crimes we can free up the time for our Council officers to target more complex issues like fly-tipping, where we need to spend time gathering evidence," explained Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment.


“This new campaign will look to use innovative solutions to identify fly-tippers, target hotspots and build on our existing knowledge to investigate and hunt down those responsible.”


Last year Waltham Forest became one of the first Councils in London to utilise new powers allowing them to crush vehicles that have been seized because they have been identified as being used for fly-tipping.


A van, which was used to fly-tip building waste in Walthamstow over the summer, was crushed following a conviction that saw the offender given a six-week suspended prison sentence.


The Council spends £1.5million a year clearing up fly-tipping, so there is a significant financial incentive to put a stop to it too. “One of the things we invest in to try to discourage fly-tipping is our large item collection scheme,” explained Cllr Loakes. 


“Unlike the vast majority of London Councils our scheme is free to residents and allows the collection of up to five items a week, every week of the year. As a result we carry out more than 25,000 large item collections from homes every year. We also have three Household Waste and Recycling Centres across Waltham Forest. There is simply no excuse!"


An Action Plan drawn up to ensure the new campaign has the desired affect includes daily monitoring of hotspots; the use of two covert CCTV cameras; all fly-tips recorded on a new online digital system and searched for evidence of where it may have come from.


The Council will also continue to lead the lobby of Parliament for low level fly-tipping Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to be brought into law. “Government must allow local authorities to use an FPN of £500 for low level one-off offences of fly-tipping,” said Cllr Loakes.


“We know that a great many fly-tips are one-off, spur of the moment, irresponsible criminal acts and for those people it will be much more beneficial to simply fine them on the spot as a short sharp shock.


“The fine will also allow us to cover the cost of the collection and disposal of fly-tips and avoid having to take expensive court action that may only result in a caution, leaving responsible, law-abiding council taxpayers subsiding and footing the bill.”


The new campaign will also see Council officers continuing to work in partnership with neighbouring boroughs to share intelligence and identify perpetrators, so that the potential for their problems to be displaced in our borough (or visa versa) does not occur.


To report fly-tipping, or to book a bulky waste collection, visit www.walthamforest.gov.uk/mystreet or phone 020 8496 3000.



PHOTO: The van used for fly-tipping that was crushed by the Council last year.

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