1 Dec 2011

REVIEW OF STREETSCENE ENFORCEMENT STRATEGY AND POLICIES

Wirral Council is conducting a review of its streetscene enforcement strategy and policies. I have submitted the following comments on fly-tipping:


I would like to submit some comments to this Review on the subject of fly-tipping.

Your notes point out that fly-tipping is mainly a problem in back entries. I believe this is correct. However, while this problem may be relatively isolated, for those affected it has a huge impact on their quality of life.

Over the past three years the Green Party has conducted regular door-to-door surveys in the Birkenhead and Tranmere ward. Without doubt, the number one complaint from residents relates to fly-tipping. It cannot be an understatement in my view to say that fly-tipping is endemic in this part of Wirral.

While residents are grateful that back entries are cleared of rubbish on a regular basis, there is widespread anger at Wirral Council's failure to prosecute those guilty of fly-tipping. Over recent years, not a single prosecution has been brought for fly-tipping in the Birkenhead and Tranmere area. It is therefore hardly surprising that irresponsible residents feel they can dump rubbish with impunity. The sad result is that the impacts of fly-tipping are now a routine part of life for most residents. This will never change until the relevant authorities take seriously their obligations to pursue fly-tippers and set an example for the wider community.

Currently, I do not believe that Wirral Council takes these obligations seriously. On many occasions I have been contacted by residents who can identify those responsible for fly-tipping and assume that Wirral Council will support them in this end. However, the response received is, in my view, quite the opposite. Warning residents of the need to appear in court and the resulting costs imposed on the authority is not a response that suggests that Wirral Council is eager to prosecute fly-tippers. Indeed, many residents take the view that Wirral Council has a policy of not pursuing prosecutions for fly-tipping.

People have a right to live in a clean environment and their local authority should be supportive of this. I would therefore suggest the following:

  • that Wirral Council reassesses its approach to fly-tipping and implements a medium term strategy to significantly reduce the incidents of fly-tipping
  • that, as part of this review, Wirral Council recognises that it already has sufficient statutory powers to prosecute fly-tippers
  • that, instead of discouraging those residents who wish to see those guilty of fly-tipping prosecuted, Wirral Council begins to engage positively and support these residents
  • that any short term costs associated with prosecuting fly-tipping will be more than repaid by a long term reduction in this anti-social behaviour

I hope that Wirral Council can recognise that fly-tipping is a really serious issue in certain areas and that it's current approach merely amounts to damage limitation rather than a robust, medium term strategy. I look forward to a revised approach and would be delighted to assist in any way I can in advancing this.

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