Fly-tipping across the East Devon district costs the council – and you, the tax payer – around £25,000 each year to clear up.
According to the most recent figures from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, there were more than 18,000 fly-tipping incidents in the South West region. Local authorities say that this has cost them more than £1m during 2015/16.
A total of 479 cases of fly-tipping were reported to East Devon District Council during 2015/16 and from 2010/11 to 2015/16 the council has dealt with 3,210 incidents.
The council takes a zero tolerance attitude towards fly-tipping and will enforce against people who offend. Officers follow up any information found within the waste which might identify the owner of it or the person who tipped it. Either could be prosecuted or issued with a fixed penalty notice and the costs of clearing up.
Last month, the council’s environmental health team took an Exmouth resident to court for dumping more than 20 bags of domestic waste and some old carpets in the service lane behind her home during the summer of last year. The woman, who pleaded guilty, was ordered to pay more than £1,500 in fines and costs.
Exeter magistrates were told that neighbours had complained about the build-up of waste and the council had tried to help her – offering advice and assistance. She ignored the advice and dumped the waste instead. When she didn’t pay a fixed penalty ticket, she was prosecuted. The chairman of the magistrates told her:
It is clear that council officers bent over backwards to try to help you but you did not accept it. This was a deliberate act which we regard as a serious offence.
Following the hearing, Councillor Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the Environment, said:
The council will pursue any reports of fly tipping and littering where the offender can be identified, and fixed penalty notices will be issued. For residents, there are plenty of opportunities to do the right thing with their waste and there is no excuse for not using the recycling and waste management facilities readily available.
The council is reminding residents and businesses that they have a duty of care regarding their waste and that they will issue fixed penalties for fly tipping domestic and commercial waste, and for littering. Anyone using a contractor must obtain full name, address and vehicle details and a written receipt because they could end up being liable if a third party fly tips their waste.