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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 14/11/2006
Fly-Tipping in Waverley

Waverley Borough Council


[Wards Affected: All]
Summary and purpose:

Data about the number and type of fly-tipping incidents are included in this report. Waverley’s activity in collecting and sharing data, investigating incidents and clearing material is also reported. The Council has a duty to clear fly-tipped material, which is independent of its duties to collect household waste.

Environmental implications:

Improving the ways in which fly tipping is dealt with has 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.

Social / community implications:

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 has a positive effect in relation to overall community safety.

E-Government implications:

Whilst the most common means of reporting incidents is by telephone or in person, more use is now being made of electronic reporting through the Waverley website. Increasingly, reports received through this route and by email are accompanied by digital photographs. These can be helpful to Waverley, our contractor and partner agencies.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no resource or legal implications directly associated with this report.


Introduction and Background

1. Whilst the vast majority of waste is collected and disposed of responsibly in Waverley, a small proportion is fly-tipped. Fly-tipping can be defined as the illegal deposit of any waste onto land i.e. the waste is dumped or tipped onto a site without the permission of the owner or where there is no licence to accept waste. Fly-tipping is important because:

I. It costs money to clean up
II. It is potentially dangerous to health
III. It is an eyesore and spoils enjoyment of the environment
IV. It can cause serious pollution to the environment
V. It can attract arson and further fly-tipping
VI. It can be dangerous for wildlife

2. Furthermore fly-tipping is illegal and 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.

3. This Committee has previously carried out an in-depth examination of fly-tipping which resulted in a number of changes to the way that the matter is dealt with. The Waste Management SIG has now requested that a report about this matter be made to this Committee, and in particular whether the change to Alternate Weekly Collections and the introduction of a subscription service for garden waste have had any positive or detrimental effects on fly-tipping in Waverley.

Data and Statistics

4. Details of incidents are recorded in order to facilitate collection. Since April 2005 data has also been submitted monthly to the Environment Agency for inclusion in their ‘Flycapture’ reporting system. This enables information to be collated centrally about the location and nature of incidents.

5. An extract of the information available is set out in Annexe 1 to this report. From the data it can be noted that:

I. The total number of fly-tipping incidents for 2005/06 was 656. II. The total number of fly-tipping incidents between the beginning of April 2005 until the end of September 2005 was 306. III. The total number of fly-tipping incidents between the beginning of April 2006 until the end of September 2006 was 240, a reduction of 22% over the same period in 2005. IV. The most frequent category of incident is ‘Other Household Waste’. This category includes loose miscellaneous household waste, furniture, soft furnishings and clothing. The total number in this category fell from 128 in the period April-September 2005, to 79 in the same period this year – a reduction of 38% this year. V. Green waste accounted for 34 incidents between April – September 2005, compared with 12 incidents between April – September 2006.

Removal of Fly-tipped Material

6. Fly-tipped material is collected and removed as instructed works by the Council’s waste management contractor. The speed of removal has improved progressively in recent years. This has been tracked by way of a Local Performance Indicator and reported routinely to this Committee:

7. Local Environment Performance Indicator LOEN 3 – Average Number of Days to Remove Fly-tips

8. Where it is possible to recycle fly-tipped material this is done, but this is generally not possible because of possible contamination with non-recyclable material or where there would be risks to the operatives by sorting through it.

Liaison, Enforcement and Joint Working with Partner Agencies

9. Data about every fly-tip is passed to the Environment Agency via their ‘Flycapture’ reporting system. The Environment Agency work under an LGA agreed protocol whereby they investigate serious incidents that are dangerous or hazardous to health, or where organised crime or business activity is suspected.

10. Waverley also has powers to prosecute those responsible for fly-tipping, and has welcomed recent changes in legislation that enable local enforcement. A written warning is sent to the originator/owner if there is evidence to identify them amongst dumped rubbish. A more thorough investigation is undertaken if the reporter of an incident has recorded vehicle registration and other details of those responsible and signals a willingness to give evidence. The nature of this activity means that the combination these elements are infrequently present and the level of prosecution nationally remains low.

11. Waverley has established an inter-agency Environment Task Group, members of which include Officers from the Council’s Environmental Services, Environmental Health and Housing Departments, Community Safety together with Police, Fire & Rescue, Surrey Trading Standards and the Environment Agency. The Group has so far arranged two joint vehicle-stop exercises with another planned before Christmas, partly focusing checks for unregistered waste carriers.

12. Very few complaints are made about fly-tipping on private land in Waverley, although it is appreciated that this remains a problem to farmers and other local land-owners. Fly-tippers are believed to behave indiscriminately, targeting sites where they have easy access and are unlikely to be seen. Most commonly, these are highway sites for which Waverley is responsible.

Possible Links with Waste Collection Arrangements

13. There does not appear to be an associated rise in fly-tipping with revisions to the Council’s waste collection arrangements. Alternate Weekly Collections and the introduction of a subscription service for garden waste in April this year have coincided in a fall in the number of fly-tipping incidents compared with the same period last year.

14. Amongst the reasons for this is that the majority of incidents are probably caused by rogue traders purporting to dispose of either domestic or commercial waste legitimately. This type of illegal activity is not directly linked to changes to the Council’s household waste collection services.

15. Members are reminded that the Council operates a bulky household waste collection service for which a charge is made. These charges were reduced in the current year compared with last year because of a reduction in the costs to the Council that resulted from retendering the Waste Management Contract. The charge for the collection of a single item reduced from 35 last year to 26 this year. An approved scale of charges applies according to the number of items for collection and a 50% reduced scale applies for those in receipt on specified benefits.


16. Fly-tipping is an important environmental signal crime. Whilst data indicates that the number of incidents has decreased this year, there is no link apparent link with the Council’s revised waste collection arrangements, and the speed with which fly-tips are removed has improved, Waverley remains committed to detecting and where possible prosecuting offenders. This will continue to be done though Waverley’s own activities and through joint activity with key partners. Recommendation:
Background Papers (Director of Environment & Leisure)

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
E-mail: mshorten@waverley.gov.uk
Fly-tipping in Waverley April 2005 to October 2006
Black bags
Black bags
Oil, chem.
Fuel drums
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