Mayor urged to clean up fly-tipping in capital as ‘crisis point’ is reached
Levels of fly-tipping within London are at all time high – total incidents increased by 14 per cent in 2016/17 – making it the fly-tipping capital of England.
Enfield is the worst affected borough, with 75,600 incidents last year alone – more than double the amount in Haringey, the borough with the second highest number of fly-tipping incidents.
Written by London Assembly Member Susan Hall, a member of the Greater London Authority (GLA) Conservatives group, the report urges Khan to use his PR budget and Transport for London (TfL) advertising space to promote a new anti-fly-tipping campaign. Hall suggests that Khan fronts the campaign to prevent commuters from destroying London’s landscape by dumping waste on its streets, parks and open spaces.
“Local councils play the biggest role in clearing up our streets, but that is no excuse for the Mayor to stand idly by while fly-tipping goes through the roof – he needs to lead from the front,” Hall commented.
It is not just Hall’s report that has found London to be the ‘fly-tipping capital’ of England. A study published in May this year by Expert Market had similar findings, although the City of London topped that chart, while Enfield and Haringey follow closely behind. The difference in these results could be due to the methodologies used, with Hall looking at total reported incidents and the Expert Market report comparing boroughs by the number of incidents per 1,000 people.
How to restore London’s landscape
Hall wants TfL to replace its current £500,000 advertising plan promoting promote gender diversity, called The Women We See, with this new environmental campaign.
To deal with fly-tipping in London, an average of £557,444 was spent per each of the 33 local authorities, adding up to the overwhelming total of £18.5 million. Hall writes in the report that this money ‘could be spent on other priorities such as children’s services and adult social care, where demand for support is growing’.
Research, such as Keep Britain Tidy’s 2014/15 Local Environmental Quality Survey, has found that crime rates increase in heavily graffitied streets with greater levels of littering and fly-posting. “All the evidence shows that a high level of fly-tipping just encourages more people to illegally dump their rubbish,’ Hall said. “Crime rates are higher in fly-tipping hotspots and dirty areas can have a negative impact on health and well-being. It’s time to put a stop to this vicious cycle.”
The Assembly Member also suggested that Khan makes CCTV technology available for local councils to catch perpetrators, or resurrects Boris Johnson’s ‘Capital Clean-Up’ programme through which Johnson awarded grants of up to £1000 to community groups to hold clean-up events. The scheme was judged to be a success: it ran over 230 events, improved 830,000m² of land and nearly 5,000 volunteers took part.
Hall suggests that by bringing these ideas into action, Londoners would be empowered to look after their own area, bringing about an improvement to London’s overall environment.
Another suggested measure is the creation of a legal services hub at the Greater London Authority City Hall, which would fund and assist court cases with identified fly-tippers, reducing costs for local authorities. Given that one in five Londoners have disposed of their waste through fly-tipping over the last two years, the fines have the potential to be substantial.
To find out more, take a look at the Cleaning up London report or read the publication by the London Environment Directors’ Network and Keep Britain Tidy, Understanding and Tackling Fly-Tipping in London.