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
Prevention and Control
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
EXECUTIVE – 11TH January 2005
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
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
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.
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
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 is the extent and nature of the problem in Waverley currently and likely to be over the next 10 years?
What are the existing systems and procedures for dealing with fly tipping?
What current disposal facilities are available in Waverley?
What is the cost of dealing with fly tipping and is there scope for sharing these costs between agencies or are there sources of additional funding?
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?
Are the responsible agencies properly prepared for imminent changes in Government regulations that could increase the incidence of fly tipping?
What would be the potential contribution of increased prosecution of offenders?
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
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.
This can be achieved through existing communication channels, including press-releases, the Waverley website and The Link. The Council’s interests are shared with Surrey County Council, Defra and the Environment Agency with whom the coordination of a time-targeted campaign can be discussed. This could be designed to coincide with the delivery of national-level campaigns.
5. Publicise the risk of fly tipping associated with work carried out by disreputable cold callers and cowboy contractors.
In addition to the publicity set out above, it is known that Surrey Trading Standards regularly deliver messages and warnings about cowboy builders and landscape contractors. The risk of unwittingly commissioning someone else to commit a fly tipping offence could be added to this with Waverley’s input.
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.
An Officer multi-agency Environmental Crime Group has already been established with representatives from the Police, Environment Agency, Surrey County Council, Fire & Rescue and the Environment Agency to ensure joint action is taken to improve cooperation and increase the effectiveness of enforcement activity. Data about fly tipping is currently being shared with the Police, Defra and Environment Agency.
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.
Information has already been produced in support of the Council’s refuse collection and recycling services. This includes details of the paid-for garden waste collection service, and bulky waste collections (with reduced rates in both instances for those in receipt of income-related benefits).
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.
It is suggested that graffiti-proofed vandal-resistant aluminum warning signs be erected on concreted metal posts at six locations in the first instance. These would include a prosecution warning and contact details of how to report incidents. Locations would be those currently most prone to fly tipping with further sites added according to problems occurring, proven resistance to vandalism, permission from a landowner or Surrey Highways where appropriate and the availability of resources. The cost would be approximately £350 each for supply and installation, which for 6 could be accommodated from within the existing environmental cleaning budget.
9. Acquire or hire mobile CCTV equipment for use across the borough, also to be made available for use by private landowners.
A mobile CCTV camera has been acquired by the Council and it will be installed at trial locations for which Waverley is responsible initially. This is likely to require adjacent private landowner permission in order to provide a relatively secure location for recording equipment.
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.
The Environmental Crime Group (6 above) is currently investigating the possibility of undertaking a joint surveillance exercise.
11. Lobby the Environment Agency to be more active in prosecuting offenders and to publicise successful prosecutions as a deterrent.
This will be undertaken. Information about all fly tipping incidents are automatically passed to the EA for investigation and intelligence sharing purposes. It should also be noted that under the nationally agreed fly tipping matrix, Waverley has become responsible for enforcement of small-scale ad-hoc incidents and will therefore wish to publicise them accordingly. Whilst most District Councils have not previously undertaken many prosecutions (for example, none have yet been taken in this financial year by Waverley, Mole Valley, Guildford or East Hants) this is set to change with attendant implications for incurring investigative and legal costs.
12. Introduce a free telephone Hotline and on-line reporting facility which should be widely publicised to enable more effective reporting of incidents.
The Environmental Services contact number will be publicised for this purpose, with additional information issued to SMS in relation to the receipt of out of hours calls.
13. Apply Fixed Penalty Fines to offenders where evidence can be obtained of fly tipping.
The Government has suggested changing primary legislation to enable this. This should facilitate the easier application of penalties. It is important that information about all such incidents should be shared in order to identify coordinated criminal activity so that heavier punishments and deterrents be applied in those cases.
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.
All of the investigatory activity related to fly tipped material is undertaken by Officers in the Environmental Services Section of the Council. This is the same Section as receives reports and information concerning fly tips, manages the environmental cleaning contract and collates data. As part of the Environment and Leisure Department, it has been possible to access the mobile CCTV equipment referred to, as well as the expertise needed to install it and control it in relation to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. Whilst the responsibility for dealing with fly tipping is unified internally, it is split between the Council and external organisations. However, material improvements are being made at national and Waverley level to improve coordination and efficiency of effort into the future.
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’.
This is already being done in problem areas, especially where they are leisure land or countryside sites. Advice is also given to private landowners where relevant.
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.
The cost implications of such a strategy would be prohibitive. With current contracted costs, a single large item is charged at £30 including VAT by Arkeco Environmental Services. Such a service would also be complex to administer. Moreover, it is not known whether the introduction of such a service would reduce the incidence of fly tipping, especially by rogue traders. The Executive is reminded that householders in receipt of income-related benefits are already charged a reduced rate of £10 including VAT for a single large item. All such collections are counted and weighed as household waste arisings and would unfortunately act counter to the Council’s waste reduction strategy.
19. Work with Surrey County Council (SCC) to identify scope for a ‘commercial’ disposal site for the disposal of commercial waste within Waverley.
Although the case will continue to be pressed, SCC has reminded Officers that a commercial waste site is operated privately by Chambers at Runfold. It is unlikely that either room or resources could be found at the public Civic Amenity Act sites in Waverley to accept commercial waste. Through existing contracts, these sites now concentrate exclusively on serving the needs of householders.
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.
This case will be supported and pursued as extended summer opening is likely to improve the service to the public. It is, however, likely that planning consent, as well as Environment Agency Waste Management Licenses would need to be varied in relation to each of the sites to permit this.
22. Consider carefully the inspection arrangements as part of new waste contract and as a minimum retain the current level of resource.
Refuse and street cleaning crews will continue to be asked, as they are at present, to report fly tips to the Environmental Services Team. Information about the nature, quantity and location will continue to be collected at this stage.
23. Support national ‘Flycapture’ reporting scheme established by Encams/DEFRA.
Waverley has fully participated in this scheme since it became live in April 2004. It is now also possible to view the data of other participating Councils, which will be particularly interesting once sufficient comparative data has been collected for trends to be revealed. Waverley-wide, there has been no discernable increase in fly tipped green waste since the Council implemented its waste reduction policies and chargeable service for the collection of garden waste in September this year. Month-on-month figures show that fly tipped green waste accounted for the following number of incidents between April and November 2004 (total fly tips in brackets):
April – 7(27); May – 9(30); June – 3(33);
July – 2(26); August – 1(34); September – 2(32);
October- 2(41); November – 3(27)
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.
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.
There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
Name: Martin Shorten Telephone: 01483 523434
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:
Where immediate action is necessary to prevent pollution of land, water or air or harm to human health or, Where there is no occupier of the land or, Where the occupier is innocent in relation to the deposits
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.
Environment & Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee; Review of Fly Tipping
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.