By Cllr Greg Peck
Living in a rural area as we do you will no doubt have experienced the sight of fly-tipping in our beautiful Norfolk countryside.
It incenses me whenever I see it and I know from speaking with many of you, and from the number of emails I receive, that it also angers you.
Fly-tipping is illegal, unsightly and pollutes the environment. I am pleased to say that a concerted effort to combat fly-tipping has now been launched in Norfolk.
All of Norfolk’s councils, the Environment Agency, Norfolk Constabulary, the National Farmers Union and the Country Land and Business Association are joining together to support the SCRAP fly-tipping campaign, which was launched last month, aiming to fight the blight of fly-tipping in the county and cut the annual £1.1m clear-up cost.
It is not only local councils that have to pick up the bill for clearing fly-tipped waste; private landowners are responsible for removing rubbish dumped on their land and picking up the bill for doing so, which can often run into hundreds of pounds each time.
The most recent published figures show that in 2016/17 the estimated cost to local authorities in Norfolk of dealing with illegally dumped waste was £1.13 million, with the cost of disposal being around £400,000 of that total.
Approximately four out of five recorded fly-tipping incidents in 2017/18 related to material that could have been accepted from householders for free at the Norfolk County Council recycling centres.
SCRAP is based on an award-winning and successful campaign being developed by the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership and its partner authorities, which, in addition to Norfolk, also includes Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent, Lancaster and Corby, with more joining all the time.
The campaign reminds people to check that their waste is being taken away for disposal by a licensed carrier, either by asking to see a Waste Carriers Licence or by looking up the company on the Environment Agency website.
There are lots of ways that you can legally get rid of things you no longer want, so in addition to asking people to avoid giving their waste to rogue traders, the SCRAP campaign will be highlighting how you can dispose of items and stay within the law.
People are being urged to follow the simple SCRAP code, which reminds people that if it is their waste, it is their responsibility; remember that fly-tipping is an offence.
Do not think that if you pay someone to dispose of your rubbish it ceases to be your responsibility. If they subsequently fly-tip it and it can be traced back to you, you could face prosecution and the cost of the clean-up.
Avoid an unlimited fine by following the SCRAP code:
Suspect ALL waste carriers
Check with the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 that the provider taking your waste away is licensed
Refuse unexpected offers to have waste taken away
Ask what will happen to your waste
Paperwork should be obtained – get a full receipt
Do not give your waste to anyone you haven’t checked out on the Environment Agency website at gov.uk. Alternatively, you can call the National Customer Contact Centre on 03708 506506 who will check for you.
A legitimate operator should be happy to provide you with a waste carrier number. If you believe the waste service offered to you is illegal you can report this anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
This campaign offers practical and helpful advice on how you can dispose of your unwanted items and stay on the right side of the law.
I would encourage you to contact your local council if you have any concerns about this issue in their area. With nearly one million incidents of fly-tipping nationally last year action is needed to combat this.
For more information about the campaign, fly-tipping and legal ways to get rid of unwanted items, visit: www.norfolkrecycles.com/scrapflytipping
Cllr Greg Peck, Norfolk County Council, Reepham Division
Tel: 07972 230282