There has been a 50 per cent increase in flytipping across Milton Keynes – to more than 6,160 incidents each year – and some councillors believe changes to access rules at the authority’s own public tips may be partly responsible.
Concerns were raised at Tuesday’s meeting of MK Council’s Scrutiny Management Committee, which regularly receives a report into the performance of the council in key areas, including homelessness and rubbish.
Cllr Ric Brackenbury, who chairs the committee, said the issue “really did concern me”, given that the council has added to its budget to clear up litter hot spots.
And he is concerned that if the issue continues to grow, “we are going to have issues with public satisfaction, as well as hygiene, cleanliness, and environmental health.”
The performance report put forward a few possible explanations, including a change to working practices, where waste crews can “self generate work where they discover fly-tips.” The report also says that a “small number of travellers” have been moving on rotation around “five or six” regular locations.
But the report added: “The majority of reports … demonstrate a reluctance to use the free services the council provides rather than a lack of access to the services.”
Cllr Jane Carr said: “One of the things that has been reported to me is some of the tips have lowered height restrictions to not allow vans in even if they are privately owned vehicles. Therefore they are seen as commercial and have to go somewhere else, and then what?”
But Cllr Robin Bradburn said it was a national problem. “Loads of authorities have done what Milton Keynes has done and restricted access,” he said.
“Some people do have vans and estate vehicles and they can’t get in, and it does encourage people to take the easy way out. I think the national figures is 43 per cent up, so it’s not solely in Milton Keynes.”
Cllr Peter Geary said if more people are being charged, it is “not rocket science”. He added: “The more you restrict people’s ability to take stuff to a tip, the more you are going to find it dumped. Simple.”
Sarah Gonsalves, the council’s director of policy, insight and communications, said: “The (senior management) team are aware that there has been an increase in flytipping and are looking at the factors for that.
“One of the areas that is going to be focused on, currently and up and coming is prosecutions around flytipping, so this something that could be reported on next year.
“There have been more prosecutions since the use of mobile CCTV started.”