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Fly-tipping soars in West Suffolk but only a handful brought to justice

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More than 200 instances of fly-tipping in West Suffolk have been reported in just three months it has emerged – but just a handful of people have been brought to justice.

West Suffolk Council reported that in the three months up to July there were 200 reports of fly-tipping in its district – an increase of 86 for the same period last year.

Data from the council’s performance and audit scrutiny committee this week, shows 141 of those were small van or Transit van-sized loads. A further 59 were the size of a car boot.

Everard Close fly-tip (14270873)
Everard Close fly-tip (14270873)

But despite the soaring numbers of reports, just three fines were issued and two people prosecuted.

One Bury St Edmunds resident who has reported continual fly-tippers and has seemingly seen no action taken against them is Martin Halliday, who lives in Everard Close.

He said: “It started about four months ago –someone keeps putting lots of folded cardboard by the garages here,

“I call the council and they say they are investigating it, but it keeps happening. It is just unsightly and also a fire hazard.”

Council chiefs say that they will take action on fly-tippers, with the increased number representing greater awareness of the problem.

Every fly-tipping report we receive is investigated to try to identify those at fault and bring them to account - Cllr Peter Stevens

Cllr Peter Stevens, cabinet member for operations, said: “We combat the dreadful effect of fly tipping by working with the trade and the community. We actively raise awareness of how local people can report fly-tips so we can investigate and clear up, and we’re confident that the figures we have published show this improvement, and not an increase in actual events.

“We also work proactively to reduce breaches of legislation, for example with duty of care inspections where businesses are asked to demonstrate how they dispose of waste generated though their activities.

“Every fly-tipping report we receive is investigated to try to identify those at fault and bring them to account.

“The vast majority of incidents are smaller amounts of household waste dumped in residential areas, more likely to be caused by a resident than a tradesperson.

“We use a range of sanctions. We can interview under caution, issue fixed penalty notices and recently we have had two successful prosecutions.”

Committee data said there were 389 interventions, which include updating a trade waste business to prevent likelihood of fly-tipping, or reactive action such as investigating a specific fly-tipping incident, over the same three month period.

Of those, 154 were proactive while 183 investigations were carried out. Those investigations resulted in 47 warning letters and three fixed penalty notices being issued.

The council said it was working with other borough and district councils on a countywide campaign to raise awareness for fly-tipping.