05:17PM, Wednesday 06 October 2021
Efforts to tackle fly-tipping in Slough are 'lacking' say councillors pleading for tougher actions on rulebreakers.
Members on the audit and corporate governance committee vented their frustration that prolific fly-tippers have not been punished despite a majority of Slough Borough councillors’ casework have involved littering and fly-tipping.
According to data provided to panel members, fly-tipping has consistently remained high in councillors casework, which peaked above 90 between January and March 2021.
Speaking at the committee meeting on Thursday, September 30, Cllr Preston Brooker (Lab, Langley Kedermister) said: “I have actually reported someone myself for fly-tipping. I observed them, I gave the registration of the van. Guess what? Nothing.
“I even caught fly-tipping with somebody actually being silly enough to leave the address on the box that they fly-tipped, and guess what? They did nothing.
“I’m not surprised fly-tipping is as high as it is because effectively, we’re not doing any enforcement action. Enforcement action in this area seems to be very lacking.
“I can only think of one enforcement action in Slough in the past nine years.”
Cllr Safdar Ali (Lab, Central) believes lawbreakers dump things on the street “blatantly” as they know there will be no consequences from the council.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the audit committee, Cllr Waqas Sabah (Lab, Farnham) suggested promoting the council’s removal service more as well as placing more signage in hotspot areas to deter fly-tippers.
Richard West, executive director for customers and communities, said: “It is quite a complicated issue where we have limited opportunity to be successful in prosecutions.
“It is quite a technical area to find evidence that will stack up in court and it’s a very expensive exercise to assemble that evidence.
“I know a number that have been successful because I have seen them in the paper, and we tried to make a big splash in the paper to put people off doing that.
“It is across the country an issue to successfully prosecute people even though we know who they are, which seems counter-intuitive.”
The council has 12 enforcement officers specialising in different fields such as planning and environmental. But Mr West said they will look out at ‘generalising’ their roles to cover more areas of enforcement.
Third-party companies that slap littering fines and enforce fly-tipping could be considered by the council. The neighbouring Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have controversially been using District Enforcement to do this.
The last prosecution was a Slough landlord who was fined £3,500 by Magistrates, with orders to the council’s full costs of £1,903.80 and a victim surcharge of £170, after he was caught fly-tipping the contents of a flat so another tenant could move in.
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