Presentation from Matt Finn, Service Manager (Commercial & Environment)
The Service Manager (Commercial and Environment) for the Joint Environmental Health Service, gave an update on environmental health and fly tipping.
The Group heard that 4,000 service requests were received and 600 business inspections took place per year within North East Derbyshire. This usually peaked in the summer months, with 2020 being particularly busy due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. It was stated that ‘noise’ and ‘nuisances’ were the largest single source of work.
There had also been a considerable growth in advice requests received during lockdown, with Covid-19 concerns being the greatest cause. A lot of work had taken place to get businesses ready for leaving lockdown, and the Council had offered a free Covid-19 certification scheme for local businesses and shops.
The Service had been offering more advice to the general public and cut down on bureaucracy and this had been done in a number of ways ranging from increased social media campaigns, to the scores on the doors scheme, and the smart phone noise nuisance recording app - allowing people to record nuisance noise and submit it straight to the Officer.
The service manager informed the group that fly tipping had been increasing in the District on a yearly basis but was still at low levels when compared with neighbouring authorities such as Sheffield and Rotherham. There was an issue with opportunistic fly tipping in rural areas, which required pro-active measures to solve. These measures included having businesses check their waste disposal services, generating publicity around fly tipping, promoting target hardening within easy to fly tip areas, and ensuring that only registered waste carriers were operating within the District. The Group heard that the penalty for fly tipping included an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison.
In regard to litter and dog fouling the Group heard that pro-active patrols had not been taking place during the course of the lockdown in order to minimise chances of the virus transmitting and would resume on the 1st April 2021. The Group was informed that during this time, awareness raising patrols had been taken place and 17 fixed penalty notices had been delivered. A new public space protection order had been implemented earlier in the year and the fine for failing to pick up after your own dog had increased to £100. Over the next 12 months the other fixed penalty notices would also be reviewed.
Following on from this, the Group enquired about the possibility of monitoring fly tipping hot spots with CCTV, and questioned who decides on the set limit for fly tipping fines. The Service Manager informed that Group that the use of CCTV cameras have caught fly tippers in the past and that the £200 fine was the legal default limit that came into force around four years ago to account for the fact that there was no prior specific fixed penalty notice for fly tipping. In addition to this, significant volumes of fly tipping were likely to go to a prosecution case for an increased fine or a prison sentence.
The Group debated whether it was fair for private landowners to bear the cost of removing fly tipping from their own land and heard that the Service Manger would look at how the District could better support private land owners to prevent access to their land. There were also discussions around the expenses faced by smaller waste removal services and businesses. The Service Manager stated that any potential costs incurred by the business should be built into the amount they charge to the customer for the waste removal. He also informed the group that they had been educating home owners that they would be held responsible for their waste and could be charged a fixed penalty if they hire a removal service that resorts to fly tipping.
The Service Manager informed the Group that they were free to contact him or his team about any relevant issues or questions they had with regard to fly tipping or dog fouling.