More than 100 new fly-tipping incidents reported each WEEK in Milton Keynes this summer
The tip booking system is largely to blame, say Tory councillor
Tory councillors have accused the council of failing to properly address the mammoth problem of illegal fly-tipping in MK.
They have called for the current tip-booking system to be scrapped to enable people to drive in to household waste sites without having to make an appointment first.
But the Labour-Liberal Democrat controlled MK Council’s has to no plan to change the rule - and Tories predict this will lead to a continued increase in illegal dumping of rubbish.
Over the past three months there have been 1342 new incidents of fly-tipping recorded in the borough, they say,
Since the start of lockdown last March, MK Council has received 5,819 fly-tipping reports from the public. This is the highest level since 2015.
At the council’s Cabinet meeting last night, the coalition presented their special ‘Fly-Tipping Action Plan’ aimed at reducing the record levels.
The plan will strengthen the council's enforcement and education work, invest more in CCTV to catch people committing environmental crimes, give new powers to local areas for community clear outs and introduce new litter wardens with powers to issue on the spot fines.
An extra £200,000 will also be allocated over the coming year to boost the work being done and increase the council’s enforcement team to seven people.
But the Conservatives slammed the plan as a “missed opportunity” with little action to reduce the problem.
Cllr Allan Rankine, finance and resources spokesperson for the Conservatives, said the plan included "very basic things" the council should be doing anyway and there was nothing to suggest more prosecutions for fly-tipping would be made.
MK Council’s statistics reveal only five prosecutions fly-tipping were made in 2020/21 from the thousands of reports recorded. Penalties totaling over £5,000 were imposed on these offenders and one culprit was given 120 hours of 'community payback'.
There are currently 10 cases awaiting prosecution at Mk Magistrates Court for illegal dumping of waste, and the council has also issued 53 Fixed Penalty Notices for fly-tipping over the past year.
But Cllr Rankine said this was simply not enough.
He slammed the new plan as "an action plan that actually has very little action."
He said the tip booking system was “the number one cause” of increased fly-tipping and that other councils, such as Fife and Lincolnshire, were now scrapping their booking system and removing restrictions..
"There are absolutely no excuses for fly-tipping but there needs to be easy access to tips and strong deterrents and punishments in place for fly-tipping criminals. This action plan and this Council’s record provides neither and residents are paying the price for it.”
Meanwhile Cllr Lauren Townsend, Labour's Cabinet member for the Public Realm said: “Tackling fly-tipping is a priority and we will not stand by and let it worsen.
"Sadly we know a minority of people will always continue to fly-tip, but we’ll be investing more in education and enforcement to reduce it to as low a level as possible, putting our biggest efforts into the places in MK we know are fly-tipping hotspots.”
MK Council leader, Labour's Pete Marland, told the Citizen: “The Progressive Alliance are tackling the national scourge of fly-tipping. More CCTV to prosecute high-volume dumping, more fines for those fines to drop litter and working with local people to provide skips for community clear-outs"
He added: "Cllr Rankine told the people of MK last night it’s “good to queue at tips”, when evidence says queuing is the single biggest cause of fly-tipping nationally. The council is currently undertaking an evidence based review of the booking system and I challenged Cllr Rankine and the MK Conservatives to provide evidence to that review to support their statements that the booking system causes fly-tipping and why people in MK would prefer to queue.
"I’m not doing to die in a ditch over a booking system for tips, so I again challenge the Tories to back up what they are claiming with facts, not conjecture...Ultimately I don’t believe MK Conservatives are serious about cutting fly-tipping if they think ending the tip-booking system and massive queues.”