More rubbish than ever is being dumped illegally across Kent.
Figures published by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reveal there has been more than a hundred thousand incidents of illegal rubbish dumping recorded between 2012/13 and 2018/19 in Kent, which cost all Kent councils in excess of £4 million to clean up. Most incidents involved waste being jettisoned from cars or vans by the side of a road.
There have been more than 40,000 investigations by Kent Councils into fly tipping, at a cost of more than a £1 million. The amounts of fines secured over the last seven financial years by all councils was just £109,137.
Fly-tipping is defined as the “illegal deposit of any waste on to land that does not have a licence to accept it”.
The maximum fine for fly-tipping is £50,000 and/or a five-year prison sentence. But 91% of the court-imposed fines in the last seven years were below £500 in Kent; which is hardly a deterrent to fly tippers.
In 2018/19 Ashford Borough Council experienced 601 fly-tipping incidences on land it owns. Canterbury experienced 65 incidences of Chemical Drums, Oil, Fuel being dumped. Dartford District Council experienced one hundred and six five (165) incidences of animal carcasses being illegally fly tipped, while Gravesham had to deal with fourteen incidences of clinical waste illegally fly-tipped. Folkestone & Hythe suffered 61 white good incidences, eg washing machines, tumble dryers. Maidstone suffered 22 incidences of asbestos being tipped. Sevenoaks had 65 incidences of green waste being fly tipped illegally. Swale had 108 incidences of tyres, car, lorry, agricultural dumped across their district. Thanet had 231 incidences of fly tipping on their Footpaths and Bridleways. Tonbridge & Malling had 100 incidences of Construction / Demolitiuon / Excavation material fly tipped across its district. In 2018/19 Tunbridge wells did not supply any data.
The overall number of fly-tipping incidences in Kent rose by 3.3% between 2017/18 and 2018/19 as the chart below shows.
Non-household waste charges recently introduced (June 2019) by Kent County Council have not led to an increase in fly-tipping claims KCC Cabinet Member for the Environment Cllr Susan Carey (Con). She has not presented any evidence to support her claim so one must treat her words cautiously.
Councils have secured convictions against serial fly tippers. Just recently, Folkestone & Hythe District Council managed to secure a six month conviction against one individual who persistently fly- tipped.
In 2018 Dover District Council secured a 20 week sentence against a serial fly-tipper.
In 2016 Tunbridge Wells managed to secure a sentence of 13 months for dumping rubbish
In 2015, Sevenoaks Council secured a four year conviction against two fly-tippers.
But these are the stories which grab the headlines. So many fly-tipping incidences don’t. What with the threat of a fine under £500 and the chance of being sent to prison minimal, is it any wonder then that fly tippers are not afraid of the current law as it stands.
Perhaps Councils in Kent could take a leaf out of Wolverhampton Council’s book as fly-tipping has fallen by half after its council launched a “shop a tipper” campaign in January 2020, where residents receive a £100 gift voucher for information leading to a fine or successful prosecution.
You never know it might just work here in Kent too. Let’s hope that all Councils and KCC think about fly tipping long and hard, because 91% of people receiving fines below £500 is hardly fitting for destroying the beautiful and wonderful county we all live in.
The Shepwayvox Team
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