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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 14/03/2005
Fly Tipping - Review of Options



Summary & Purpose
This report reviews the opportunities that would be presented by adopting a range of measures to improve the way in which the Council deals with fly tipping.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
N/A
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX E
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 11TH January 2005
_________________________________________________________________________
Title:
Fly Tipping - Review of Options
[Wards Affected: All]
_________________________________________________________________________
Summary and purpose:

This report reviews the opportunities that would be presented by adopting a range of measures to improve the way in which the Council deals with fly tipping.

_________________________________________________________________________
Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
N/A
Positive
Positive

Improving the ways in which fly tipping is dealt with would have a positive effect across a number of the Council’s Quality of Life indicators. In particular, the environment would benefit in the event of a reduced number of fly tipping incidents. The firm and fair use of legal remedies to deter would-be offenders or to prosecute those who are caught will assist in pollution prevention and control. The improved control of fly tipping as a signal crime would also have a positive effect in relation to overall community safety.

E-Government implications:

The recommendations include improved electronic reporting and the use of technologies such as CCTV.

Resource and legal implications:

The current legal position with regard to fly-tipping is included in Annexe A to this report. It should be noted that whilst the Government have consulted on the possibility of enabling Council’s to issue fixed penalty notices, no provision to enable this has yet come forward.

Resource implications are identified, wherever relevant, in relation to individual suggested measures.

_________________________________________________________________________


Introduction and Background

1. The Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee in September 2003 agreed to undertake an in-depth review of fly tipping in Waverley as part of its work programme. This was successfully undertaken in the manner of a parliamentary select committee with the following scope:
What are the existing systems and procedures for dealing with fly tipping?

What current disposal facilities are available in Waverley?

What is the impact on community safety and health?

What can be done to assist private landowners who suffer from fly tipping?

Are arrangements for clearing fly tipped material working effectively?

What can we learn from best practice and initiatives elsewhere?

2. A series of recommendations were arrived at. These were approved by the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee in September 2004, and subsequently welcomed by the Executive with a request that Officers report back to them with costings and operational implications of the proposed service improvements. The main conclusions of the O&S Review are contained in Annexe B to this report.

Review of Recommendations

3. The following detailed recommendations for improvement were made (each now with Officer comment in relation to implementation):

Education and Publicity 4. Undertake preventative coordinated publicity to be produced with partners to inform the public on facilities for disposing of materials, including what constitutes commercial and non-commercial waste, the special collection service operated by Waverley, details of Civic Amenity sites and general information on fly tipping hazards.
5. Publicise the risk of fly tipping associated with work carried out by disreputable cold callers and cowboy contractors.

6. Increase the profile of ‘Signal Crimes’ – fly tipping, graffiti, abandoned vehicles etc- within Community Strategy, working with partner organisations (including landowners) drawing together work that is currently being undertaken.

7. Undertake a publicity and education programme on dealing with waste, particularly in the light of the introduction of the one-bin limit on collection by Waverley from September 2004. The programme should cover a range of approaches to provide information and advice to the public.

Enforcement

8. Put up warning signs at known fly tip areas stating that the site might be subject to CCTV surveillance with a telephone/e-mail contact address provided to report fly tippers.

9. Acquire or hire mobile CCTV equipment for use across the borough, also to be made available for use by private landowners.

10. Work in partnership with the Police in surveillance activities and make use of the support offered in using their CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems and in covert observations as well as police assistance with prosecutions.

11. Lobby the Environment Agency to be more active in prosecuting offenders and to publicise successful prosecutions as a deterrent.

12. Introduce a free telephone Hotline and on-line reporting facility which should be widely publicised to enable more effective reporting of incidents.

13. Apply Fixed Penalty Fines to offenders where evidence can be obtained of fly tipping.

14. Encourage the police to carry out stop and search operations to check whether vehicles are in possession of the appropriate waste carrier's licence.

See 6 and 10 above.

15. Consider merging all the Council’s enforcement activities in a single co-ordinated regulation team and whether this approach would improve overall enforcement effectiveness.

16. Examine known problem fly tipping sites on Waverley owned land to see what physical measures can be taken to deter fly tipping i.e. ‘block it’ or ‘lock it’.

17. Continue its discretionary policy of collecting fly tipped material from farm gates etc provided this is not taken advantage of.

This should continue.

18. Consider the introduction of an annual ‘free’ large item special collection service while recognising the cost implications of such an approach.

19. Work with Surrey County Council (SCC) to identify scope for a ‘commercial’ disposal site for the disposal of commercial waste within Waverley.

20. Encourage SCC to experiment at an existing Civic Amenity site with extended hours of operation specifically for trade/commercial waste.

See 19 above and 21 below.

21. Encourage SCC to extend summer opening hours of Civic Amenity sites.

22. Consider carefully the inspection arrangements as part of new waste contract and as a minimum retain the current level of resource.

23. Support national ‘Flycapture’ reporting scheme established by Encams/DEFRA.

Conclusion

24. The Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee has previously been thanked by the Executive for undertaking a thorough review of fly tipping in Waverley. The detailed recommendations have been examined by Officers, and it is recommended they now be implemented in accordance with the annotated comments above.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive implements the recommendations of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee in relation to its review of fly tipping in Waverley in accordance with the comments made in paragraphs 4 to 23 of this report.
________________________________________________________________________
Background Papers (DoE&L)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

________________________________________________________________________

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Martin Shorten Telephone: 01483 523434

E-mail: mshorten@waverley.gov.uk


comms/exec/o&s3/070

Annexe A
Fly Tipping - The Legal Framework

1. Generally speaking fly tipping can be defined as the illegal deposit of any waste onto land i.e. waste dumped or tipped onto a site with no licence to accept waste. The type of waste would include general household waste, larger domestic items such as fridges and mattresses, garden refuse and commercial waste such as builders’ rubble, clinical waste and tyres.

2. Fly tipping is a crime and Sections 33 and 59 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 created an offence of disposing of controlled waste on land in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to health. The offence is punishable by a fine not exceeding 20,000, imprisonment for a term of up to six months or both.

3. Under the Environment Protection Act 1990 there was a lack of powers provided for collection authorities (for example, Waverley Borough Council) to investigate matters and to deal with vehicles suspected of carrying waste for fly tipping. These powers mainly lie with the Environment Agency. There is also some blurring of the role to be played by local authorities and the Environment Agency, however, this has been very much clarified by guidance in force.

4. Currently, Waverley adopts an approach that most local authorities have adopted when dealing with fly tipping. Waverley would be responsible for the clearing of sites, however, any major problems would be reported to the Environment Agency, cleaning of the site would still be carried out by Waverley. Waverley would clear any incidents of fly tipping on its own land (including land which the Council are responsible for the management of) and highway land. Waverley does not deal with the clearing on private land as this is a responsibility lying with the owner, but does provide information to private land owners so that they can arrange for clearing. By reporting the situation to the Environment Agency, the intention is that the Agency will follow up by investigating and take relevant enforcement action, possibly prosecuting the persons concerned. Waverley does not prosecute for incidents of fly tipping as it does not have sufficient investigative powers, making it difficult to achieve a reasonable prospect of success due to the lack of these powers. In any event, as mentioned earlier, this function is allocated to the Environment Agency. This is not to say that Waverley could not bring prosecutions at all, however, careful consideration would need to be given to the evidence and consultation with the Environment Agency would be required.

5. Under s.33 of the Environmental Protection Act, a person may be liable to a fine of up to 20,000 and/or imprisonment. There is a power also to seize and dispose of vehicles used for illegal waste disposal. However, these powers are more appropriate for the disposal authority (Surrey County Council) as there are additional powers afforded to the disposal authority under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, in that they can be granted a warrant to seize vehicles. It is unclear whether this power is available to Waverley.

6. Under s.59 of the Environmental protection Act 1990 a collection authority (i.e. Waverley) has power to deal with fly tipping through serving of a notice on the occupier of a land, requiring steps to be taken for removal, reduction or elimination of the deposits. If the notice is not followed, the collection authority may prosecute (whereby a defendant may be liable to a fine not exceeding 5,000) or take reasonable steps to clear and recover reasonable costs of doing so from the recipient of the notice. There is a defence of innocent occupier, in that the notice will be quashed on appeal if held that the occupier did not deposit the waste or knowingly allow or permit it to be deposited.

7. Powers to act immediately are provided in certain cases to remove the waste or reduce the contents of its deposits but these are, in certain circumstances, as follows:

8. The Government has acknowledged that fly tipping has an affect on local communities that can amount to anti-social behaviour, and has reflected this in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 “the Act”, however, the relevant provisions will not come into force until certain statutory instruments are issued bringing into force the relevant parts of the Act. The Act extends local authorities powers in cleaning land, gives waste collection authorities a strategic role for dealing with the illegal deposit or other disposal of waste (fly tipping), facilitates the definition of this role further to receipt of statutory directions to clarify the role of the authority and the Environment Agency, and extends the range of powers available to them. This is expected to lead to better enforcement of current legislation, a significant increase in investigation activity, better detection of the perpetrators of the crime and, eventually, a reduction on unlawfully deposited waste. The extension of powers include giving waste collection authorities the powers to stop, search and (after the issue of a warrant) seize a vehicle they suspect of being used for the unlawful deposit of waste, and certain powers relating to the investigation of incidents of unlawfully deposited waste.


comms/exec/04-05/371
41201


Annexe B
Environment & Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee; Review of Fly Tipping

Main Conclusions:

1. It is clear from the information gathered under the review that currently Waverley’s own fly tipping problem, when compared with other Councils, is relatively modest and that the existing procedures for dealing with fly tipping, which are the Council’s direct responsibility i.e. fly tips on Council owned land, appear sound, timely and cost effective. The contractor costs for clearing fly tipping on land for which Waverley is responsible was approximately 12,000 in 2003/04 and the average clear up rate is approximately 2.5 days from receiving a report - this being an improvement on previous years performance.

2. However there is a growing perception that the problem of fly tipping is widespread and evidence from private landowners within the Waverley area indicates a much greater problem albeit one which is outside of Waverley’s direct responsibility. It is therefore considered that the Council use its wider community role as a means of influencing and addressing the fly tipping problem for the whole of Waverley with partner and other agencies.

3. Fly tipping is regarded as a ‘Signal Crime’ i.e. an example of a criminal and disorderly act) that has a disproportionate affect on peoples’ lives in terms of them perceiving that this type of incident is a risk to their personal safety, other examples of ‘Signal Crimes’ include graffiti, abandoned vehicles and fly-posting.

4. Regulations and directives governing the disposal of waste as well as future directives are likely to exacerbate the problem of fly tipping. The impact of Landfill Tax, the EU Recycling Directive on the disposal of fridges and freezers as well as the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations covering most domestic electrical goods such as televisions and computers have or are likely to have an impact on fly tipping. In addition, as from July 2003 the Landfill Regulations have put a ban on the depositing of certain whole tyres and only sites where their licence permits can accept whole tyres. Shredded tyres (except for bicycle tyres and certain other tyres) may not be accepted as landfill after 16th July 2006. As a result of the introduction of the above regulations and directives disposal authorities will have to provide licensed centres for disposal of materials for which charges may be levied on the public and businesses which would cover the increased disposal costs that will arise from the more environmentally acceptable but more expensive methods of disposal required.

5. Under the Fly tipping Matrix arrangement between authorities, Waverley are now responsible for investigating any fly tipped load of up to 7.5 tons, any larger fly tipped loads and those that are considered harmful to health or the environment would come within the remit of the Environment Agency working with the relevant local authority.





comms/exec/04-05/371
41201