Fly-tippers strike 1,200 times in three years

Fly-tipping in Grantham.
Fly-tipping in Grantham.
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In the last three years 1,199 reports of fly-tipping in Grantham have been reported to South Kesteven District Council.

Just 11 of these have resulted in prosecutions or cautions.

The figures revealing the extent of this issue were given to the Journal as a result of a Freedom of Information request to South Kesteven District Council. They also show how incidents of fly-tipping are increasing year-on-year. In 2011, SKDC received 173 reports, followed by 480 reports in 2012 and a staggering 546 so far this year. These were anything from a small bag of waste to a large pile of furniture or rubble.

The local authority’s interim head of environmental services Mike Butler said fly-tipping is becoming “a real issue”. He added: “We want to prevent it happening in the district. It would be helpful if people report areas that have been fly-tipped so that they can be sorted out.

“A priority of the council is to keep the district clean, green and healthy and that is what we want to do. Our main difficulty in being able to prosecute is the lack of evidence that enables us to identify the culprit.”

The maximum penalty for fly-tipping, which is a criminal offence, is £50,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment. This is a far cry from the penalties culprits have been handed since 2011. In that year, three cautions with costs of removal, disposal and officer time were given. In 2012, SKDC was successful in one prosecution and one simple caution with clean-up costs included. And so far this year, three simple cautions have been made, one with clean-up costs, and another simple caution and two prosecutions pending.

Mr Butler said: “If items are dumped on public land, we will investigate and remove them - usually within three working days once we are notified. However, some items need to be removed by specialist contractors, hazardous substances like asbestos for example, and this might take longer.”

l Report fly-tipping at www.southkesteven.gov.uk or call hotline 01476 406360.