By Rachael Hunt, cabinet member for environmental enforcement at South Gloucestershire Council
AS part of our continued efforts to combat fly-tipping, South Gloucestershire Council has recently secured a number of successful prosecutions relating to waste offences that have taken place across the area.
Fly-tipped waste is unsightly and takes up council resources to clear away. The fly-tipped materials can also be dangerous and cause harm to the environment by polluting land and waterways.
South Gloucestershire Council adopts a different approach to some local authorities in tackling the problem of fly-tipping.
We prioritise pursuing prosecutions through the courts, rather than directly issuing fixed penalty notices, and our award-winning environmental enforcement team has a 100% record of securing successful prosecutions for fly-tip related offences.
We favour this approach because we believe it sends out a firm message and attracts more public interest, which serves as a powerful deterrent to offenders. We also use the opportunity to help improve education and understanding in the community about how everyone can do their part to ensure waste is disposed of appropriately, safely and legally.
We are proud that our zero-tolerance approach means that anyone who fly-tips in South Gloucestershire is three times more likely to be prosecuted than anywhere else in the country.
When we are alerted to a case of fly-tipping, our Streetcare team will clear the waste away and dispose of materials appropriately, recycling wherever possible.
At the same time, our environmental enforcement team examine the waste to find clues as to where the waste may have come from. We often find household waste containing letters or documents with names and addresses on, or other identifiable material that allows us to trace the owner of the waste and take action.
We all have a responsibility to ensure that our waste is disposed of in a responsible and lawful manner, including when a third party is involved.
It is an offence to allow your waste to be disposed of by an unauthorised contractor. If you hire someone else to dispose of your rubbish, always ask to see their waste carrier registration certificate and ask where the waste is being taken, otherwise you could be found liable and face prosecution if the waste is illegally deposited.
Unwanted goods and household or garden waste can all be disposed of at no cost at any of the council’s Sort It recycling centres. Seewww.southglos.gov.uk/sortitcentres for more details.
Residents who see illegal fly-tipping are encouraged to report it by contacting the council’s StreetCare helpdesk on 01454 868000, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.southglos.gov.uk/flytipping.
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