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District needs to ‘press on’ with work to combat fly-tippers

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Fed up residents have been urged not to lose faith in the council’s ability to tackle fly-tipping – but one complainant has branded them ‘impotent’.

Despite the district council purchasing cameras last summer to tackle the problem, dumped rubbish is still blighting South Holland.

Little progress has been made in punishing offenders with just one prosecution and three fixed penalty notices issued in 2021/22.

Fly-tipping in Victoria Street Car Park, Spalding (57568948)
Fly-tipping in Victoria Street Car Park, Spalding (57568948)

Spalding farmer Andrew Branton, a repeated victim of fly-tipping, accused the authorities of having ‘sloping shoulders’ and dodging responsibility.

Senior councillor Gary Taylor today admits that it’s time to ‘press on’ and vowed to work with the public to bring more offenders to justice.

However, Mr Branton, said: “There’s a complete disconnect between the local authority, Environment Agency and police, who pretend it’s each other’s job to deal with fly-tipping.

“Local authorities are completely impotent and offenders just laugh at them. They’re totally ineffective.

“I’m sick of reporting it - it’s a waste of time and I think reports will diminish as people have no confidence that anything will be done.

“It’s just ridiculous and exasperating."

Andrew Branton. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG150518-101TW. (2042384)
Andrew Branton. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG150518-101TW. (2042384)

Councillors are calling for tougher punishments for fly-tippers - and for the use of all ‘tools’ to help catch them.

There are hopes that more can be done to combat an issue which is blighting our area - be it through prosecution, use of cameras or longer opening hours at Spalding Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Last May, South Holland District Council confirmed it had purchased equipment - including cameras - which would be used to identify fly-tippers.

However, at a council Performance Monitoring Panel meeting earlier this month it was confirmed that the kit is not yet in use due to a delay over ‘GDPR’ data rules.

Coun Gary Taylor, portfolio holder communities and facilities, says that it’s time to ‘press on’. “It’s a good tool in our box and I am pressing for us to use it,” he said.

“We made the effort to buy it so rather than delays and frustration, we need to press on. Residents who pay taxes are not prepared to put up with it, they want a clean and safe environment to live in.”

Public Spaces Protection Order, Spalding (57569258)
Public Spaces Protection Order, Spalding (57569258)

Coun Taylor is also calling for stronger punishment for those caught dumping rubbish. He said: “We do catch people - we recently caught someone in Sutton Bridge and had them prosecuted - so I would say that people need to report any fly-tipping they see so that we can work together to get the data and prosecute people.

“If we continually find fly-tipping is happening in the same areas, we can deploy the camera and community wardens to that spot.

“We also need to let the Government know that stronger penalties are needed for the people who are caught as so much tax payer money and staff time goes into this. We need the stronger enforcement.”

Donington parish councillor Jane King, who also sits on both the district and county councils, wants to know why the county-run tips can’t be opened longer to help.

She said: “I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reported fly-tipping. It starts with a little bit of litter and escalates from there.

“We just need to get on and get it sorted.

“This idea that there’s no correlation between the tips being shut and the increase in fly-tipping gets me. How come it was such a thing when they were closed during lockdown?

Fly-tipping dumped at Cloot Drove near Crowland which was discovered by farmer Andrew Branton in February 2021
Fly-tipping dumped at Cloot Drove near Crowland which was discovered by farmer Andrew Branton in February 2021

“People are dumping lots so why can’t the tips open seven days a week? If not, why not open later in the evening during the lighter months?

“They also close so suddenly. If there is an issue at the tip with the containers not being emptied then they should be letting people know sooner rather than later to save them that trip.”

Coun King agrees that there should be a push to raise awareness of the consequences of not disposing of rubbish properly.

She said: “It’s great that someone has been prosecuted but I don’t want to see a one off, I want to see it done however many times it takes.

“Where are the community wardens and where are the police? It all goes hand in hand - and it’s not just kids, it’s people of all ages. It’s disgusting and it all has a knock on effect.”

With regard to data laws, a council spokesperson explained: “Any use of cameras, just like closed circuit cameras in use in town centres, is subject to a Data Protection Impact Assessment, which is a legislative requirement. This assessment is designed to identify risks resulting from the processing of people’s personal data. DPIAs are important tools for negating risk, and for demonstrating compliance with GDPR.”

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