On my way back home the other day, I passed a pile of abandoned furniture. Wardrobes, drawers, sideboards and sofas had all been dumped by the side of the road. They were unsightly, are likely to attract vermin, and will be expensive and time consuming for the council to clear up. And the cost of the clear-up will be borne by the rest of us.
It looks like the people who dumped them must have had access to a vehicle. So they could easily have taken them to the Seafield dump, less than 3 miles away, which is free for residents to use. But no, they chose to be selfish and dump their problem onto public land instead.
Such incidents are not isolated. In December 2015, the council received nearly 30 complaints about flytipping each working day. They made up more than a third of all environment-related complaints in that month.
And while the fines for flytipping were increased in 2014 from £50 to £200, the number of fines dished out has declined by almost a third. To make matters worse, nearly a half of fines issued for fly tipping are not even paid. It seems enforcement is not working.
This can’t go on. At the last meeting of the council’s environment committee I called for a review of our approach to fly tipping and dumping. Evidence shows that robust enforcement – in other words, catching people in the act and issuing fines – can tackle the problem. But that needs investment in environmental wardens and sometimes in mobile CCTV units.
But we also need to look at whether the charge for bulk uplifts is contributing the problem. And we need to make it easier for members of the public to report dumping, and to pass on intelligence about who’s responsible.
Until we get to grips with the dumpers, our public spaces will be blighted by their irresponsible behaviour.
Motion to Transport and Environment Committee
Transport and Environment Committee
15 March 2016
Amendment by Green Group
Item 8.1 Cleanliness of the City
Committee notes the contents of the report;
Committee notes with concern that over a third of environment-related complaints received in December 2015 were in connection with fly tipping or dumping;
Committee believes that fly tipping can blight public spaces and land where it occurs, having a significant negative impact on the quality of life of residents;
Committee agrees to consult with the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group and any other relevant groups, and to receive a report within 2 cycles exploring examples of best practice in tackling fly tipping from other local authorities and significant landowners, and setting out a detailed and costed action plan for tackling dumping and fly tipping in the City of Edinburgh.
Moved by Chas Booth
Seconded by Nigel Bagshaw