400 fly-tips in Hertsmere, one prosecution

PUBLISHED: 17:15 15 September 2011




DESPITE nearly 400 instances of fly-tipping in Hertsmere in the space of a year, there was just ONE successful prosecution, new figures have revealed.

Fly-tipping in Hertsmere - the figures

Number of instances: 368

Clearance costs: £20,837

Number of enforcement actions: 94

Cost of enforcements: £7,176

Successful prosecutions: 1

Number of fines: 1

Amount received in fines: £494

Illegal dumping cost taxpayers in Potters Bar and the rest of Hertsmere £28,013 in clearing the rubbish and taking enforcement action against litterbugs.

But, despite the thousands of pounds spent on clearing up 368 dumps and going after the fly-tippers, the borough council recouped just £494 from its solitary successful prosecution.

A figure that is not good enough, according to Labour councillor Richard Butler, who says the Tory-controlled authority should do more to clean up the borough.

Cllr Butler told the Potters Bar Edition: “I think the council should be doing more.

“People should not be getting away with that sort of act.

“It is not fair on other people to pick up the bill.”

Mr Butler added that at a time when money is tight diverting council resources to dealing with fly-tipping could affect other services.

Councillor Jean Heywood, environment portfolio holder, said: “It’s a real shame that people feel the need to dump their rubbish on the streets of Hertsmere as it blights the landscape, distresses local residents and is costly to clear up.

“We investigate fly-tipping where we can which involves officers going through the rubbish to find evidence of who might have dumped it – and we did this 94 times in 2010/11. “Unfortunately many fly-tips don’t contain any evidence so it’s difficult to find the culprits and bring them to justice.

“However we do a lot of work to educate and prevent fly-tipping including promoting household waste recycling centres, liaising with businesses, running environmental action days and issuing fixed penalty notices which are not included in the data.”

The statistics obtained by the Countryside Alliance under the Freedom of Information Act, relate to fly-tipping between April last year and March this year.

They also show that nationally taxpayers were clobbered to the tune of more than £40m for the clearing of rubbish and enforcement of punitive action against illegal waste dumpers.

But only £692,000 was collected in fines.

Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Fly-tipping is a crime that perpetrators can get away with.

“We need a coordinated plan which ensures people who fly-tip are caught and punished and provides greater support to local authorities and landowners who bear the brunt of the cost of clearing up the mess.”

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