The £1.2 million cost of flytipping

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THE cost of clearing illegal flytipping has soared to more than £1 million in Scarborough.

Figures show that £1.2 million of public money has had to spent removing illegally dumped waste.

The total has rocketed over a six-year period, since the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) started collecting data in 2004.

In the first year, from March 2004 to April 2005, Scarborough Council faced a bill of £266,797 tackling illegal waste disposal.

The most recent cost, from March 2009 to April 2010, has halved to £130,309, with the number of incidents dropping to 5,591.

However the problem is still costing tens of thousands of pounds each year to tax payers.

Harry Briggs, recycling and waste enforcement manager at Scarborough Council, said: “Scarborough Council has for many years attempted to turn the tide of illegal waste disposal within our borough.

“The act of flytipping has a serious impact on the quality of life for people within their neighbourhoods and can damage the local environment. This is all in addition to the huge cost of clearance that is picked up by the community at large.

“The decision to flytip is a conscious effort by a small number of individuals, often motivated by profit, that cannot and will not be excused.

“Scarborough Council is committed to the investigation and where possible the prosecution of those responsible.

“Residents and businesses all have a part to play and must ensure they don’t use an unauthorised ‘man with a van’ to dispose of their rubbish, as it often ends up dumped rather than disposed of lawfully.”

While the number of flytipping incidents has decreased over the six years, from a high of 8,158 down to 5,478, the number of successful prosecutions has increased, peaking at 100 from March 2008 to April 2009, according to Defra figures.

Offenders caught flytipping face maximum penalties of a £50,000 fine or up to five years in prison.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, the council’s environment portfolio holder, said: “The really annoying thing about the whole thing is that we have got more than enough facilities for legally getting rid of waste with the tips and collection services.

“It probably costs people more in fuel to drive out of town to dump their item than it would to go to the tip.

“Of course if they get caught it will cost them even more in fines.

“We have got a fairly good record of tracking people down, and getting successful convictions.

“While there is a substantial cost attached to the problem it is on the decrease, and that is down to the hard work of our officers and the members of the public that alert us to it.”

Those who want to report flytipping in confidence, can call the Customer First team on (01723) 232323 or email fly-tipping@scarborough.gov.uk