Hampshire council launches campaign against fly-tipping

A new county-wide media campaign across Hampshire aims to raise awareness of the serious repercussions of fly-tipping – the illegal dumping of waste.

Everyone disposing of waste has a responsibility or ‘duty of care’ to ensure that the waste is not treated illegally. If any individual employs a waste carrier who is not legally registered and the waste ends up fly-tipped, they, as well as the tipper, could be liable for prosecution and an unlimited fine.

Hampshire’s campaign to raise awareness of the householder duty of care comes amid a continued rise in recorded incidents of fly-tipping. According to data published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), 900,000 incidents of fly-tipping were reported by local authorities in England in 2014/15, at an estimated cost to clear of nearly £50 million, not including disposal costs. In the Hampshire economic area alone in 2015/16 there were 17,330 reported incidents of fly-tipping, with the County, District and Borough Councils spending an estimated £710,000 of taxpayers’ money on collecting, investigating and disposing of this illegally dumped waste.

Hampshire Council seeks to educate the public about the consequences of fly-tipping

The campaign is hoping to remind people of their personal responsibility to prevent fly-tipping by ensuring that their chosen waste carrier is licenced. Ways of ensuring that waste carriers are legally registered include checking their waste carrier licence number on the Environment Agency register, asking to see their waste carrier licence, or simply asking what will happen to the waste being collected.

Organisations involved include the police, all of the District and Borough Councils across Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils, the Environment Agency and rural associations.

Ahead of the campaign’s launch, representatives from the partner organisations gathered at Farley Mount, Winchester, one of the sites that has been spoiled by fly-tipped waste in the past, to reinforce their commitment to protecting Hampshire’s environment and the quality of life of its residents.

At the site, Megan Lock, Rural Adviser at CLA South East, which represents landowners and farmers across the county, commented: “The CLA welcomes any move which helps tackle the blight of fly-tipping in Hampshire. We’re looking forward to continuing our close work with Hampshire County Council and the delivery of the Fly Tipping Strategy with other partner organisations.

“It is not a victimless crime. It’s a vicious cycle of costly clean-ups by landowners and farmers who personally bear the burden of waste crime on their land.”

Dawn Theaker, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, added: “We all create waste and we all have a responsibility to ensure that waste is handled correctly. Always check that your tradesman or waste collector is professional and is registered with the Environment Agency.”

While the problem of fly-tipping appears ever-growing, there has been a recent surge in actions to address it. Earlier this year Defra called for homeowners and businesses to receive on-the-spot fines if their waste was disposed of by unlicensed waste carriers. Previously, fines and penalties were only targeted at unauthorised waste disposal companies, but – as in the case of Hampshire – the government is putting more responsibility on businesses and individuals to keep their areas clean.

In a further move to counter the illegal dumping of waste, new powers introduced in January mean the Environment Agency (EA) is now able to block access to problem waste sites, not just illegal ones, and force operators to clear all their waste.

Last year, the EA also disclosed plans to map England’s landscape in its entirety by 2020, a project designed in part to help combat waste crime. Using aircraft equipped with specialist laser scanners, the EA will create a high-quality map of the country and use the data to tackle waste crime by spotting sudden environment changes that could indicate illegal dumping of waste.

More information regarding Hampshire’s campaign against fly-tipping can be found on the council’s website.