Cracking down on fly-tipping in West Oxfordshire
Fly-tipping has dropped by 16% in the past two years in West Oxfordshire, following the introduction of a specialist team set up by the District Council to combat environmental crime.
As a result of the decrease in offences, the cost involved in clearing up fly-tipping has almost halved. The Council’s team has been praised for its work on helping to drive down fly-tipping, but says it is still a problem and is encouraging residents to continue reporting offences.
In 2006/7 there were a total of 736 reported fly-tipping incidents in West Oxfordshire. The Council set up the enforcement team in April 2007 and they immediately started work on investigating problems and encouraging members of the public to help by reporting fly-tipping. Latest figures show that there were 611 reported fly-tips over the past year (2008/9) – 125 less than in 2006/7, or a 16% decrease.
The drop in offences has meant that the cost involved in clearing up fly-tipping has almost halved – from around £53,000 two years ago to around £27,000 in 2008/9.
As a result of investigations led by the Council’s specialist environmental enforcement team, four people have been prosecuted and 10 people cautioned for fly-tipping in West Oxfordshire for a total of 20 offences – more than any other area of Oxfordshire.
Cllr David Harvey, West Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We have shown that fly-tipping will not be tolerated and this significant decrease in both the number of offences, and the cost involved in clearing up after the offenders, is excellent news. We are absolutely committed to reducing the number of cases still further and to doing our utmost to eliminate this unsightly problem which blights our countryside.
“The Council’s specialist team has worked extremely hard with both the Police and the Environment Agency, sharing information and intelligence on offenders. Anyone intent on committing environmental crime in West Oxfordshire should take this as a warning that they will be pursued and prosecuted.
“Residents have played a key role in helping us to catch offenders and quickly deal with the problem of fly-tipping by reporting problems and suspicious behaviour. I would like to urge members of the public to continue doing this.”
Every reported incident of fly-tipping is investigated by the Council. Fly-tipping can be reported online at www.westoxon.gov.uk/reportit or by calling 01993 861060.
The specialist team has been working to identify and target fly-tipping ‘hot-spots’ and, amongst other methods of investigation, and can use covert cameras in isolated areas.
The team also works on other aspects of environmental crime, including dealing with abandoned cars. During the past year, 100% of vehicles were removed within 24 hours of being declared abandoned in West Oxfordshire.
Anyone caught fly-tipping faces prosecution and could receive a fine up to £50,000 or maximum imprisonment of 5 years.
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