Action on fly tipping in Mid Sussex
"Trying to get Mid Sussex District Council to take action on fly tipping is like trying to catch a fly with one hand" said Cllr Simon Hicks after last Wednesday's Scrutiny Committee where he raised the issue of lack of action to combat fly tipping. "Despite having photographic evidence of two Burgess Hill delivery addresses which I recently found on fly tipping in the South Downs National Park it seems the Council is not willing to even notify the potential offenders that their waste carrier has committed an illegal act."
Liberal Democrats have been pushing Mid Sussex District Council to use its powers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices against fly tippers, yet despite first agreeing powers to enable it to issue these in 2014, the Council has no trained officers to implement this, although Liberal Democrats have obtained a commitment for this to be undertaken by November. "The Council still has powers to prosecute fly tippers in the courts, however all I am asking for in this instance is for the Council to take more immediate action to follow up clear evidence of illegal waste disposal." said Cllr Hicks.
Cllr Hicks has also raised deficiencies in the reporting of fly tipping, I have highlighted the current online form does not give a receipt or request details that might lead to enforcement action and is sent directly to the Council's contractor without any formal review by the Council. The response I had was there is no statutory duty to investigate and/ or pursue enforcement action in respect of fly tipping; however, I would argue, there is a clear expectation from residents and central government that the Council should use its powers to investigate fly-tipping incidents, prosecuting fly-tippers and recovering clearance costs where possible. The Council needs to give this the priority it deserves."
During the meeting, Liberal Democrat councillors Simon Hicks and Alison Bennett secured a commitment for the Council to start reporting upon fly tipping performance measures in its quarterly performance monitoring report. At the end of the meeting, the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee for Leader, Finance and Performance said that he would "ask Cabinet and the officer team to go away and look at what more can be done."
"The Council has a generally prompt system for removing fly tipping on public land, and it is the duty of private landowners to remove any from their own property. It is up to us all to ensure we use registered waste disposal operators to remove rubbish, and I would still encourage any evidence of fly tipping to be sent to the Council, but to ensure their local Councillor is copied in to follow up. In the meantime, Liberal Democrats will continue to press the Council to take a more proactive stance against those who fly tip."
Also commenting, Cllr Alison Bennett said, "Mid Sussex District Council must start taking action against fly tippers. Fly tipping in our towns, villages and rural lanes is a bane for many people. Residents need to have confidence that enforcement action will be taken whenever possible, and that those who commit this crime are not getting away with it scot-free."