Figures published yesterday by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) show that Thanet Council has failed abysmally to tackle fly-tipping. According to the figures TDC has the fifth highest rate of fly-tipping out of the 64 local authority areas that make up the south east of England
Between the 31 March 2022 and 1 April 2023 a total of 2,353 fly tipping incidents were recorded by TDC – a 32% increase in the five years since 2018-19 when the figure was 1,918 incidents.
Cleaning up the fly-tipping cost TDC £56,320 during the 2022/23. Over the past 5 years, the councils clean-up costs were reported to be £327,900. But these figures only include the costs of cleaning up “significant multi load” and “tipper lorry load incidents”.
The council does not report the clean-up costs of other, smaller, fly-tipping incidents, which if included could mean that the actual costs of cleaning up fly-tipping over the past 5 years could easily be over half a million pounds – I feel a freedom of information request coming on!!
So what has TDC done to prevent the growing mountain of fly tipped rubbish in Thanet? The shameful truth is that whilst the fly tipping mountain has been growing year on year, TDC is doing less and less to stop it.
Defra figures show that over the past 3 years the
performance of the council in all categories of fly tipping enforcement has declined. The total number of fly-tipping enforcement actions taken by TDC as decreased from 2117 in 2020-21 to 1070 in 2022-23 – a staggering 49% decrease in fly tipping enforcement actions during a period in which fly tipping incidents have been increasing.
There can be no doubt that the council's lack of enforcement action has led to the significant increase in fly-tipping in the district. But it’s not just the inaction of the council which is to blame, it’s also the stupidity of its policies and the nodding donkey councillors who approve them, that have caused the fly tipping tsunami.
Just last year county and unitary councils, who manage household waste and recycling centres (HWRC), were ordered by the Government to drop charges for accepting domestic DIY waste.
But unlike county and unitary councils, local councils such as TDC are able to charge for the collection of bulky items of domestic and garden waste, which those without access to cars or vans are unable to take to the HWRCs.
For those of you haven’t seen it here is the Council’s schedule
of charges for collecting bulky items of household waste. The current charge for council garden waste collection is £65 a year.
All of these charges are under review and will almost certainly, like all other TDC charges, be increased on 1 April 2024.
In a recent House of Commons Research Briefing it was noted that fees charged by councils for the collection of bulky items of household waste and garden waste were a “possible cause “ of fly-tipping, especially in areas such as Thanet where poverty, deprivation and low income is significant.
But yet the council and its ruling Labour councillors are now considering increasing, what are already very expensive charges, and action which will certainly lead to yet more fly tipping
Surely for a party such as Labour which claims to be committed to improving the environment, should be focusing on drastically improving the pathetically low rates of detecting and deterring fly-tipping in Thanet , and at the same time reducing, or even abolishing altogether, the uber expensive fees and charges it levies for those who for many reason, especially lack of money or poor health, cannot make use of the HWRCs.
There are many other practical steps which the council can take improve waste collection and reduce fly-tipping in the District but it appears that Labour, Tory, Green, and Independent councillors don’t give a dam about the damage being caused to our environment by fly-tipping.