It’s official! The number of flying tipping incidences between the financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20 has risen across all twelve councils in Kent (not including Medway), according to the latest data released by the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
From 2017/18, DEFRA stopped collecting investigation costs into flytipping. However, between 2012/13 and 2016/17, investigations cost all councils, a little over £1 million.
And over the last eight years Canterbury leads the way in the total fines issued, by a wide margin. At the other end of the table, according to DEFRA, Thanet has issued not a solitary financial fine for flytipping between 2012/13 and 2019/20, which is quite astonishing given the number of flytiping incidences rose 43% between 2018/19 and 2019/20.
To understand how charges for certain types of waste came to be charged by Kent County Council one has to rewind to September 6, 2018, when they ran an 8-week consultation, closing on 1 November 2018, to gain views from the public and stakeholders regarding introducing charging for the following streams of non-household waste at the 18 KCC Household Waste Recycling Centres. The charges were for:
Soil, rubble and hardcore
In total 2,841 consultation responses were received.
85% of respondents either disagreed (19%) or strongly disagreed (66%) with the proposal. And 1,905 comments raised legitimate concerns regarding an increase in flytipping. It’s very much appears their concerns were justified.
On the 17 January 2019, Kent County Council Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee met to discuss the consultation results and the subject title of the report was:
The report states:
There is no significant evidence to link policies, such as charging for nonhousehold waste at HWRCs, with increased fly-tipping. In a NAWDO (National Association of Waste Disposal Officers) survey of local authorities in June 2017, of those respondents which had introduced HWRC charges for non-household waste, regarding the impact on fly-tipping:
12 authorities said they have seen no impact, or a minimal one.
4 authorities said they have seen an increase, but only in line with national trends
Green party, Cllr Martin Whybrow, said on the 17th Jan 2019, while he would not like to charge for this in an “ideal world“, the council needs the money due to austerity. He went onto add
“I think that when we do look at experts, and I do believe we should follow the guidance of experts, we probably should be reassured and support this motion.”
KCC charges for soil, rubble, hardcore and plasterboard began on June 3rd 2019.
The evidence, all publicly available, shows the experts, plus 12 Tory Cllrs, 2 Lib Dems and Cllr Whybrow got it wrong. Only Cllr B Lewis (Lab) voted against the introduction of the charges.
The 1,905 respondents to KCC consultation, who said incidences of flytipping would rise, got it right.
Does this show KCC sought approval on a course of action they’d already decided upon and ignored the consultees?
The gross projected income from this policy was £4 million, with approx £2.4 million going on costs and £1.6 million into KCC coffers. However, the projected income into KCC piggy bank has not been achieved.
In 2019/20 Ashford Borough Council experienced 647 incidences of flytipping on land it owns. Canterbury experienced 755 small van loads of flytipping. Dartford District Council experienced one hundred and ninety incidences of animal carcasses being illegally fly tipped, up from 165 in 2018/19. Dover experienced 42 incidences of tyres being dumped, car, lorry and agricultural. Folkestone & Hythe suffered 89 white good incidences, eg washing machines, tumble dryers, up from 61 in 2018/19. Gravesham had to deal with seven incidences of clinical waste illegally fly-tipped. Maidstone suffered 58 incidences of asbestos being tipped, up from 22 in 2018/19. Sevenoaks had 72 incidences of green waste being fly tipped illegally. Swale had 377 incidences of Construction / Demolition and Excavation incides of flytipping, across their district. Thanet had 298 incidences of fly tipping in back alleys within its district. Tonbridge & Malling had 85 incidences of fly tipping on its footpaths and bridleways across its district. In 2019/20 Tunbridge wells had 65 incidences of flytipping on its land up. In 2018/19 the number of incidences was 40.
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.
If you see anyone flytipping please do report it. You can do this via your local council website, their facebook page or twitter account. Flytipping is not a vicitmless or costless crime. The land where it is tipped is owned by somebody and clearing it up costs.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful