FLY-tipping has increased considerably in the current financial year, but so has the number of prosecutions for connected offences, Thurrock councillors have been told.
Gavin Dennett, the council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards manager was speaking to the Cleaner, Greener, Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday (21m January) evening.
He said that compared to the same period last year there had been a 22Â½ per cent increase in fly-tipping – a total of 1,785 reported incidents.
The increase had also resulted in a rise in demand for investigation and, where feasible, legal proceedings against those tipping or those not taking the proper care to ensure their waste was legally removed.
A report to the committee said: “To date this year nine prosecutions for fly tipping related offences have been concluded. Of these seven relate to the previous large-scale fly tip at Cory’s Wharf. Three further fly tipping prosecutions are due to be heard in court in early 2016.”
But Mr Dennett said two of those had already been heard and resulted in convictions with fines and costs measured in the thousands of pounds.
He told the committee the increase in the number of prosecutions resulted from two factors, the prioritisation of fly-tipping follow-up in preference to investigation of other forms of environmental crime, and the increasingly proactive use of camera footage, both from council cameras and private CCTV.
The report also said the council has provided land ownership details for its sites to Essex Police so they can act more quickly to combat unauthorised encampments and dumping on council land.
Cllr Roy Jones, chair of the committee, said afterwards: “Members were assured Thurrock was not seen as a ‘soft touch’ by criminals fly-tipping, but the open nature of Thurrock – when compared with London – means we have more isolated sites that are not overlooked and are vulnerable.
“We were pleased the council is both taking action against these people where possible and that the courts are imposing heavy sentences.
“Fly-tipping is a blight on Thurrock and we were encouraged by the increasing use of technology to combat it. Hidden cameras, private and council CCTV are being used and as technology progresses I am sure we will have more weapons in our armoury to combat it.”