'Zero Tolerance' needed on South East of England Fly Tipping as GMB study shows more than 90,000 incidents in 2019/20
Local authorities need to up their game as GMB Union data shows less than half incidents resulted in a call out
A new study of the latest official data by GMB, the union for refuse and street cleaning workers, shows that the 67 councils in the South East of England took 29,938 actions to deal with 90,507 fly tipping incidents recorded in the region for 2019/20.
Actions on fly-tipping by councils include: warning letters, statutory notices, fixed penalty notices, formal cautions, stop and search, vehicle seizures, injunctions, prosecutions. Overall across the region councils took 29,938 actions. This is approximately three actions for every ten incidents across the region.
GMB is calling for a uniform policy, across the South East of England councils, of punishing cowboy builders identified fly-tipping to confiscate their vehicles. This would send the right message.
The study shows that in terms of the number of actions per fly tipping incidents there is a huge variation. The Vale of White Horse, Lewes, Wealden, Spelthorne, Woking, Eastbourne, Reigate & Banstead, Tonbridge & Malling, Fareham, Portsmouth and Adur Councils all have more actions than fly-tipping incidents. Southampton and Surrey Heath Councils by contrast failed to record any actions against fly-tippers at all.
The councils who took most actions include Gravesham, Medway and Woking. At the other end of the scale, as well as the aforementioned were very low levels of action at West Berkshire, Rother, Wokingham and Winchester Councils.
Set out in the table below are the figures for the 67 local authorities in the South East of England ranked by number of actions per fly-tipping incident.
Table: Fly-tipping incidents and actions reported by South East of England local authorities 2019-20.
|Local Authority||Total Fly Tipping Reported Incidents 2019/20||% on number of reported incidents on previous year||Number of Prosecutions||Number of Actions||Actions per reported incidents rate|
|Vale of White Horse||390||-15%||15||574||1.47|
|Reigate and Banstead||524||14%||0||575||1.1|
|Tonbridge and Malling||581||-1%||0||606||1.04|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||944||51%||0||944||1|
|Brighton and Hove||2100||7%||0||831||0.4|
|Folkestone and Hythe||1360||42%||6||366||0.27|
|Isle of Wight||575||-21%||0||42||0.07|
|Epsom and Ewell||855||-9%||0||60||0.07|
|Basingstoke and Deane||4107||63%||10||136||0.03|
*Fareham provided figures based on customer-reported fly-tips only in 2018/19. These have been included at local-authority-level in this dataset, but the national totals include estimates for total fly-tips to ensure the headline totals are reported on a basis that is consistent with the rest of the time series.
**Tunbridge Wells provided 9 months of data for 2018/19 therefore the remaining months have been estimated. The estimates are included in the national totals but not shown in this local-authority dataset
***Eastleigh, the reporting basis in 2019/20 has been recorded as 'all incidents' based on the response provided for quarter 3.
****Dover were not able to 100% confirm their reporting basis for 2019/20. However based on their response for quarter 4 and their quarterly figures, their reporting basis has been recorded as 'all incidents' .
Justin Bowden, GMB Southern Regional Secretary, said: “Government and local councils have to be more proactive in dealing with fly-tipping incidents. The data for 2019/20 shows far too much variation in the numbers of actions councils take in response to fly-tipping incidents. Some councils take far too little action. Many councils need to up their game on dealing with fly-tipping and fly-tippers.
“There needs to be better education on the costs of dealing with the problem and how people can dispose of rubbish and unwanted items properly.
“Councils must invest in easy to access recycling and disposal facilities for residents to use and offer accessible collection schemes for bulk items. Recent restrictions on using recycling centres due to the pandemic in terms of capacity and access without bookings need to be rolled back. They must not become permanent or make access to them more difficult.”
“Councils have to firmly clamp down on fly-tipping by larger fines, investment in surveillance equipment and rigorous investigation of incidents and follow up action. Some councils have a poor record on this which encourages an attitude of impunity. A uniform policy, across the South West of England of punishing cowboy builders identified fly-tipping to confiscate their vehicles would send the right message.
“We need a policy of zero tolerance with action against fly-tipping on all fronts at all times.”
Media enquiries: GMB Southern Press Office on 07866 441 656 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
Sources for Data are Defra and WasteDataFlow.
Fly-tipping returns for some local authorities may be missing, incomplete or found to contain errors during Defra's quality assurance process
The 2019/20 national totals are, as the figures are reported by the local authorities to WasteDataFlow and only include estimates for non-response and missing data.