No action taken on hundreds of fly-tipping offences

More than 2,000 incidents of fly-tipping were reported to the council last year.

More than 2,000 incidents of fly-tipping were reported to the council last year. - Credit: Archant

More than 2,200 incidents of fly-tipping were reported to North Somerset Council last year, but Government figures show the authority failed to take action against any offenders.

Figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) shows 2,215 incidents were reported to the authority in 2017/2018.

Incidents included waste left on highways and alleyways, to white goods and extra black bags left out by households and businesses.

Fly-tipping is illegal and offenders can face fines and even prison sentences if the case goes to court.

The figures show how many warning letters, cautions, fines and prosecutions were recorded by authorities across the UK and North Somerset Council scored zero on all actions.

Cllr Peter Bryant, the executive member for waste and recycling, said the council investigated a number of incidents but failed to find enough evidence to take it any further.

He said: “We investigated 79 in depth, but unfortunately there was insufficient evidence there to make a conviction.

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“That type of fly-tipping only represents 10 per cent of fly-tipping, 90 per cent is where the general public will get rid of a bag of rubbish by throwing it out their car window or by putting out an extra bag next to the black bin and we don’t take that on.

“Last year we spent £79,000 clearing up fly-tipping. The year before was £110,000.

“Every authority is struggling and the success rate is about one per cent. It’s a problem.”

Fly-tipping is on the rise with 2,064 reported incidents in 2016/2017, compared to 2,215 in 2017/2018.

Councillors believe there are a number of reasons for the rise including poor storage space for waste in town centre flats, charges to use the recycling centre and a lack of effort to recycle.

A council spokesman said: “In the past 12 months we’ve carried out more than 70 investigations and interviewed six people under caution – unfortunately there wasn’t enough evidence to take these matters further.

“We do take the issue of fly-tipping seriously and if people have evidence of who is responsible, we’d ask them to contact us so we can investigate.

“Fly-tipping is antisocial and it also spoils the lovely environment we have here in North Somerset.”