‘Recycling charges to blame for fly-tipping’
- Credit: Archant
Senior councillor slams ‘farcical situation’.
FLY-TIPPING is sharply on the rise in North Devon according to official figures obtained by the North Devon Gazette.
The district council has logged a 64 per cent jump in incidents over the past three years – yet despite 1,500 reported cases there have been no prosecutions.
The council dealt with 430 incidents in 2010-11, 472 in 2011-12, and 706 in 2012-13 – at a combined estimated clean-up cost of more than £100,000.
Councillor Rodney Cann, the council’s portfolio holder for waste and recycling, blamed the noticeable spike in incidents on Devon County Council’s decision to introduce charges at recycling centres.
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Fees introduced in April 2011 include £2 per bag of soil or rubble, and £7 per bag or sheet of plasterboard.
Cllr Cann said: “There has been a significant increase in fly-tipping and we’re seeing far more instances of builders, for example, putting their rubbish in normal bins.
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“I believe the county council has created a problem for the district council. The reality is that it is now cheaper to buy new concrete blocks than to dispose of old ones.
“It’s a farcical situation. There is something wrong with the council’s thinking – it costs the district council far more in clean-up costs than they are recouping from the recycling centres.”
A detailed look at the figures show fly-tipping incidents involving construction and demolition have increased five-fold from 12 in 2010-11 to 63 in 2012-13.
Fly-tipping of ‘other household waste’ rose from 162 to 335 last year.
Meanwhile, reports involving commercial waste went up from seven to 27 incidents.
Mr Cann said: “I have been very critical of the introduction of these charges and they are costing the public purse.”
Despite the mounting cost to local authorities at a time of cuts and money saving across all levels of government, the district council said there had been insufficient evidence to bring prosecutions.
Works and recycling services manager, Rex Bassett, said: “The individuals who are involved in fly-tipping are all too aware that this is criminal activity, and consequently go to great lengths to ensure that nothing is left to connect them with the crime.
“We always check for any evidence which could be used to successfully prosecute, but usually there is insufficient evidence to proceed.
“As most of the locations are isolated, witness statements are few and far between.”