A number of residents have raised concerns about flytipping in their neighbourhood and problems with reporting. I therefore tabled a question to the Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Jonathan Cook, at this month’s Council Meeting. See below for a response.
On further questioning he committed to working with the Borough Residents Forum to identify and pilot new ways to tackle flytipping. If you have your own suggestions or would like to report particular flytipping hotspots in Earlsfield please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also report flytipping directly to the council here: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/flytipping (although note as per response below they are currently sorting out the online reporting form).
Question to the Cabinet Member for Community Services:
The Council recently discontinued the user-friendly email and text service on which residents can report flytipping to the Council. This has been replaced by an online form with at least 9 pages of information and the choice of 10 different complaint types, including “SC51”, “SC68”, and “SC74”, with no explanation as to what these mean.
a) Does he believe this has improved the experience for residents;
b) How much does flytipping cost the council per year;
c) How does this compare with income generated from bulky waste collection services;
d) What reviews has the Council undertaken of its bulky waste collection service to establish whether current pricing or practice serve as contributory factors to flytipping; and
e) What measures are currently being undertaken to tackle flytipping and what assessments have been made of their effectiveness to date?
(a) Work to improve the online form, which was in place before the text and email service were discontinued, is underway and initial improvements are expected to be implemented over the coming month. This will reduce the number of fields the user is required to complete, along with improved explanatory text. The codes quoted above are for internal use only and are likely to be moved to the bottom of the page to avoid any confusion for the service user.
(b) As most small fly tips are cleared without having been reported then the specific cost of fly tip removal cannot easily be identified. However, the “FlyCapture” website provides an estimate of £92,000, based on approximate average costs for other local authorities.
(c) The bulky waste service generated £139,359 of income during 2014/15. With contractor collection charges of £46,909, this leaves a net income of £92,450 (excl. disposal and overheads).
(d) The Council’s current standard charge of £16.50 for the collection of up to four items of bulky household waste is thought to compare favourably with the charges of privately operating licensed waste carriers. Whilst some local authorities provide free bulky waste collections, their number is small and diminishing, and those that don’t provide a free service often have significantly higher charges than this Council.
It is believed that there is little correlation between local authority charges for bulky waste collection and levels of fly-tipping as some authorities that provide free collections also report relatively high levels of fly-tipping. We have reviewed this service and its pricing in recent years, and it now operates in parallel with a third party collection service which diverts suitable items for re-use. In January 2014, the charge was lowered from £21 to £16. Although this price reduction led to increased demand, it also coincided with an upturn in reported fly tips the following year.
(e) he Borough has seen huge improvements in the number of fly tips over the last 15 years, declining markedly since a peak of 5,190 in 2000/01. In 2013/14, levels fell to an historic low of 1,101. In 2014/15 the figure rose to 1,357 incidents, but this was still the second lowest annual total recorded since 1999/2000 (when available data starts). During the first six months of 2015/16 there were 657 reported fly tips.
However, the figures are still higher than we’d like them to be and so fly tipping prevention is carried out Borough-wide, educating businesses and residents to ensure that they understand their obligations to dispose of waste legally. Last month (September 2015), 900 letters were sent to residential properties in areas where we had issues with domestic waste being deposited on the street. This month (October 2015) a further 2,000 letters are scheduled to be delivered in other residential areas for the same reason. These letters highlight issues with waste while asking for assistance from residents in resolving them and are sometimes accompanied by the placement of temporary signage. The areas are then monitored for compliance with further enforcement action being taken if necessary.
To reduce fly tipping by commercial enterprises, we have been introducing trade waste time banding. We have engaged with thousands of businesses in our town centre areas to ensure that they are legally disposing of their commercial waste. The time banding scheme is due to be extended over the coming year and this will greatly reduce the amount of commercial waste on our streets
ll reported fly tipping is investigated and where sufficient evidence is found an appropriate course of action is taken in accordance with the Council’s Waste Enforcement Policy. We make use of a variety of temporary “no fly tipping” signs throughout the Borough to get various messages across in relation to littering and fly tipping. Our team of officers patrol daily, investigating reported fly tipping and checking fly tipping ‘hotspots’, taking action where they find evidence of offences. Since April 2015, we have issued 445 fines to businesses and residents for committing waste offences. A persistent fly tipper from Mitcham is currently being prosecuted for multiple offences in the Tooting area. Similar offences are also being investigated in the Putney area involving residents who have paid a fly tipper to remove their waste.