To consider the Fly-Tipping and Fly-Posting Enforcement Pilot Review report scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 25 May 2022.
The Committee is asked to scrutinise and comment on the report and if required to make recommendations or observations as appropriate.
Cabinet members invited to attend for this item: Councillor Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place; Councillor Bobbie Dove, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services; Councillor Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for Council Priorities and Delivery.
Officers invited to attend for this item: Jess Gibbons, Chief Operations Officer and Matthew King, Regulation Team Manager
The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Committee.
The Portfolio Holder for Council Priorities and Delivery presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these minutes in the Minute Book. There were a number of points raised and responded to by the Portfolio Holder, Community Enforcement Manager and the Regulatory Services manager including:
· The Portfolio Holder was asked what the most prevalent type of fly-tipping was, whether it was chargeable or non-chargeable items. A Councillor commented that a lot of items fly-tipped appeared to be general household waste. The Portfolio Holder didn’t have a breakdown of the types of waste but advised that as part of the communications strategy moving forward people would be made aware what items were chargeable for disposal and also how members of the public could make sure they were using a reputable company to remove waste. The Committee was advised that if the domestic waste was being collected by a commercial company it would be chargeable if taken to the tip. A lot of fly-tipping was carried out by waste removal companies.
· In response to a query, it was confirmed that untaxed cars abandoned on the public road were not considered fly-tipping.
· It was noted that the majority of inspections carried out were given a fixed penalty notice and a Councillor commented that they were aware of some adverse reaction to a number of calls. The Councillor asked if letters could be sent in advance. Notifications were given through the BIDS and the business development email circulation. The challenge was that businesses needed to provide proof of suitable waste collection for the previous 12 months, which some businesses were not prepared for. Waste environment officers provided feedback that warnings were given to businesses.
· A Councillor commented that they supported the extension to the trial which appeared to have done some good work. However, they questioned if a further 6 months would be sufficient to conduct all inspections required. It was noted that there was rational behind the businesses which were chosen for inspection.
· A Councillor commented that the Council’s online system for arranging collection of bulky items was difficult to navigate and they could see why residents would choose to use a third party.
· In respect of a particular case where a resident was fined for a disputed fly-tipping incident it was noted that there was a need for better face to face interactions in these instances. Another Councillor commented on another disputed case of fly-tipping in which the fine was rescinded and praised the reactions in this case.
· It was understood from the report that Communications did not have the resources to support the campaign, despite having 42 members of staff. It was suggested that if an outside contractor was brought in to conduct this there should be a way for its effectiveness to be audited. It was noted that the Communications team did provide support at the beginning of the pilot, but this was largely based on social media channels and there was a need to use other means of communication.
· A Committee member asked whether translation assistance provided to businesses could be considered within the communications strategy. It was noted that there were networks which the Council were aware of and the service was communicating well with them and through Trusted Voices. However, there were other avenues which may need further investigation.
· A Councillor asked if WISE officers could approach landlords directly to respond to clearing vacated properties. Officers advised that they were still finding out the best way to approach different groups. It was noted that Waste Enforcement Officers were working directly with WISE officers to address these issues.
· A Committee member commented that Ward Councillors were at the heart of these issues and were aware thar the community was aggrieved by this behaviour. A Councillor asked if there was a dedicated data capture for instances of fly-tipping and how Ward Councillors could better support this initiative. Officers responded that they would want to see how other councils address this and ensure that it was as easy to report as possible.
· A Committee member asked about what approach was being taken to fly-posting. The Committee was advised that the events team approached businesses who routinely fly-posted and it was confirmed that certain instances would require planning permission. However, the number of reports of this coming in were quite low and consequently the corresponding activity in this area was low with approximately 10 responses in March.
· A Councillor asked whether a communication plan could be rolled out on an area basis with support of ward Councillors, local businesses and associations. However, it was noted that this was not just a geographic issue and there were many layers to how the provision operated, there were also issues with certain communities and sectors which didn’t present on a geographic basis. However, the Portfolio Holder undertook to give this further consideration.
· A Councillor noted that it was positive that when fly-tipping was reported it was dealt with within 24 hours which seemed a significant improvement since the beginning of the scheme. However, there was a need to ensure that this was also followed up with clearance teams. It was noted that there were legal issues concerning clearing fly-tipping on private land but the teams were working to address this.
· It was noted that reporting fly-tipping on the Council’s webpage was somewhat cumbersome and only photos could be uploaded as opposed to videos. Othher Councils were considered to have better web pages for reporting these issues. The Committee was advised that the Council was aware of some of the issues and were working on these but there were difficulties with the different preceding authorities’ systems.
The Chairman commented that overall, there was a general endorsement from the Committee for extending the pilot for another 6 months. The Chairman thanked everyone for their participation in this item and requested that this should be reviewed again in 6 months at the end of the extension to the pilot.