I have recently written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs demanding that the Government do more to tackle the growing scourge of fly-tipping.
Every time I go out knocking on doors and meeting residents they are telling me they are fed up with the levels of fly-tipping that seem to be getting worse and worse across the borough. The example (pictured) in Clarksfield is unfortunately just the top of the iceberg in many areas.
The Government has just published its Litter Strategy but the measures on fly-tipping lack teeth, so I’ve written to them to demanding additional steps are taken to take to assist councils to tackle fly-tipping.
The amount of waste being fly-tipped has increased rapidly in recent years, not just across Oldham East and Saddleworth, but across the whole of the UK.
I’ve been working with Oldham Council, and their waste management and enforcement teams, on this issue but persistent fly-tipping on some sites has become a major problem which hasn’t been deterred even by CCTV installation.
I’ve told Ministers that what we need is a national communication campaign about this issue with support and funding for local authorities to tailor for their local circumstances.
We also urgently need work doing on data, insight and behaviour change to develop a consistent framework for local authorities to use to gather qualitative and quantitative data and insight into the problem so it can be tackled effectively.
I would be in favour of extra powers to stop-and-search vehicles to detect environmental crime, particularly given that the instances of fly-tipping on highways is increasing.
Oldham Council believes that there are increasing numbers of people operating as illegal waste collection businesses and that the waste that they collect is often illegally dumped. The most recent high profile example is Maple Mill where it was discovered, during the investigation following the fire, that the site had been used as an illegal waste site.
We need the Home Office and police to investigate illegal waste transfer operations and the extent to which they are connected to organised crime. And the Environment Agency needs adequate funding to strengthen their ability to act in a timely and robust fashion to environmental crimes, including those related to fly tipping.
I also believe it’s time to introduce national legislation to make it a duty for householders and businesses to dispose of their waste responsibly in the right bin as provided by their local Council.
I will continue pushing all agencies, including the Government, to tackle local fly-tipping.