Seven flytips every day in Welwyn Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 December 2018
There are seven flytipping incidents every day on average in Welwyn Hatfield, figures show.
Data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has revealed the scale of the “epidemic” facing councils across the country.
In Welwyn Hatfield, there were 2,415 fly-tipping incidents in the 12 months to March.
The area has managed to buck the national trend however, with a drop in incidents over the past five years.
In 2012-13, there were 2,529 incidents, 5% higher than the current levels.
By comparison, in Hertsmere there are on average three flytipping incidents every day and there were 1,012 flytips in the 12 months to March, which is an increase of 245% from five years ago when there were 293.
England as a whole has experienced a surge in flytipping over the same period, with current incidents up 40% to almost 1 million.
The bulk of incidents in Welwyn Hatfield last year involved volumes of waste that were the equivalent of a small van load.
The Local Government Association, which represents local authorities, said councils were determined to “end the scourge” of flytipping.
Councillor Martin Tett, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: “This new analysis shows the scale of the flytipping epidemic we face in this country.
“Flytipping is unsightly and unacceptable environmental vandalism.”
The most common type of waste dumped in Welwyn Hatfield was household waste, which accounted for 1,482 incidents, followed by black bags of household rubbish and electrical items.
A Welwyn Hatfield Council spokesman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Flytipping continues to blight our landscape and cause harm to residents and animals.
“However, it is very encouraging to see that the number of incidents are reducing across the borough and Hertfordshire.
“Officers continue to provide advice to residents on how to manage their waste responsibly and we do take enforcement action when needed.
“Since April this year, we have issued over 15 fixed penalty notices for flytipping.
“We are also part of the Hertfordshire-wide flytipping group and we continue to promote the S.C.R.A.P (Suspect, Check, Refuse, Ask, Paperwork) code which provides information on how our residents can prevent flytipping.”
Clearing up the rubbish and taking action against perpetrators is estimated to have cost the council around £168,600 last year, according to DEFRA.
Councils can take a range of actions against flytipping, from sending warning letters to launching prosecutions.
In Welwyn Hatfield, the council took action on 777 occasions last year, up from 753 in 2016-17.
These included launching 711 investigations and sending out 58 warning letters.
There were no prosecutions, however.
“Councils are determined to protect local environments,” Cllr Tett continued.
“New fixed penalty notice powers from the Government will help but every single conviction for more serious flytipping offences still results in council taxpayers having to pick up the bill.
“We need to make sure that when councils take offenders to court, a faster, more effective legal system ensures that serious flytipping offences result in hard-hitting fines.”
Last year, overall flytipping incidents in England fell slightly by around 1% - the first fall for five years.
However, large-scale tips increased by 9% over the same period.
Since 2012-13, the number of actions taken by councils has risen by 16%.
A spokesman for Defra said: “The figures show our tough actions to crack down on flytippers are delivering results.
“Councils are using powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to flytippers to good effect, and we have made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for flytipping to be stopped, searched and seized.
“New fixed penalty notices for householders who pass their waste to a flytipper also come into force shortly, as we continue our efforts to crack down on those who blight our landscapes.”