Fund new approaches to tackling fly tipping
Fly tipping is a blight that causes a nuisance to residents, makes areas appear run down and creates potential health hazards.
The PCC agreed this would be the subject of his second problem solving forum, held in June 2018. While often considered a low level matter, fly tipping is a persistent and ongoing problem affecting both rural and urban areas, and is also often linked to wider criminal activity. As well as being unsightly and damaging, it is also expensive and time consuming to address. There is often public confusion over which agency is responsible for dealing with concerns, the differences between fly tipping on public and private land, and the role of the police.
A partnership response is required to properly tackle fly tipping and the forum sought to bring these partners together to identify new thoughts and ideas that could potentially be implemented.
The forum provided an excellent opportunity to update on the current situation across Dorset, existing response and successes in dealing with fly tipping and lively discussions on potential new approaches and ideas.
While it was recognised at the time that some of these ideas were more aspirational and potentially less feasible to implement, they were considered worthy of exploration nonetheless. Key developments as a result of the forum can be summarised as follows:
A coordinated a multi-agency approach to fly tipping in Dorset – The OPCC has led on establishing the Dorset Fly Tipping Group (DFTG), bringing together partners to ensure a coordinated and more effective response to fly-tipping. Membership includes BCP and Dorset Councils, Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) – who delivers the waste collection services for Dorset Council – Dorset Police, Environment Agency (EA), National Farmers Union (NFU), Country Landowners Association (CLA), National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Fly tipping coordinator - A key piece of work of the DFTG has been the recruitment of a dedicated fly tipping co-ordinator post. Funded for one year by the PCC, this post has been recruited by the EA and took up their post in December 2019. They will take ownership of the DTFG meetings and the delivery of the group’s action plan, which includes a co-ordinated approach to awareness raising, reporting, monitoring and enforcement.
Additional investigative support – For more serious repeat fly tipping offences Dorset Police have agreed to provide additional investigative support to assist in bringing offenders to justice. This has included forensic support, for example assisting the EA on repeat cases such as the dumping of illegal farming waste.
Exploring technological solutions – The DFTG are piloting the use of CCTV for identified fly tipping hotspots, having reviewed a range of suitable equipment for deployment in both urban and rural, often remote, settings. Cameras will be funded by the PCC and Dorset Police are currently working with DWP to identify suitable pilot locations. In support of this, Dorset Council has set up an online map showing all reports of fly tipping, pulling together data from multiple sources and refreshed on an ongoing basis. The new fly tipping coordinator will lead on developing these solutions further once in post.
Simplify and increase reports of fly tipping – Work has been carried out to streamline reporting processes to make reporting fly tipping as simple as possible for the public. Following the local government restructure, both BCP and Dorset councils have information and reporting tools for fly tipping on their websites. The Dorset Police ‘Ask Ned’ directory also includes a section on fly tipping, a new ‘front page’ website for the DFTG is in development and will make it easier to report incidents along with providing information and signposting to other websites.
Awareness raising – The DFTG has agreed to adopt a Hertfordshire developed campaign, already widely used across the UK, as a single brand to assist with communications and awareness raising activity. The fly tipping coordinator will oversee this work, with the first joint campaign scheduled to run over December 2019. The DFTG have already assisted with some local campaigns.
Exploring opportunities to increase enforcement – A number of initiatives are being explored to identify opportunities to increase enforcement measures against fly tipping offenders. In October 2019 Dorset Police began a pilot project inputting fixed penalty notices relating to fly tipping onto the police national computer to improve local intelligence and targeting of organised crime groups. The Force is also sharing information with partners where roads operations have identified suspect vehicles, which also assists with joint enforcement operations implemented by the DTFG. Meanwhile, work is taking place with the National Fly Tipping Prevention Group around ways to raise awareness with the judiciary about the impact of fly tipping and options for sentencing offenders and recovering costs for land owners. This includes exploring the use of community impact assessments and victim statements already in place for other rural crimes.
It is hoped this level of activity demonstrates a genuine commitment from the PCC and partners to provide a robust and sustainable response to the blight of fly tipping despite the demand and resource pressures currently faced by the agencies involved. The Commissioner has been in the ideal position to facilitate and bring partners together to co-ordinate their efforts, as well as providing initial funding to enable ideas and initiatives to be introduced. The OPCC will provide ongoing monitoring and scrutiny of this activity to gauge how effective it has been in tackling fly tipping locally. The Commissioner will also remain engaged with national partnerships such as the National Rural Crime Network to share any learning from our work while also being linked in to best practice developed elsewhere.