Fly tipping – South Cambs needs to get serious

By Peter Topping, District Councillor, Whittlesford Ward and Leader of the Conservative Group at SCDC

South Cambs District Council has just passed its budget for the coming year.

There is quite a lot of money in various reserves.  I put forward proposals to increase the resources – equipment and people – the Council has to tackle fly tipping.

It should also do more on street sweeping round our villages and encourage litter picks and tree planting.

My proposals were voted down by the new 'green to the core' Liberal Democrat administration, I’m sorry to say.

On the up – sadly
In preparing for the budget I looked at the data from the last couple of years and there has been a big increase in casual fly tipping.  Too often it’s the 'take if off your hands for an extra hundred squire, then you won’t need a skip' cowboys who are doing the dumping.

Fly tipping has risen markedly – 166 reported incidents in the first six months of 2018 compared with 116 in the same period 2017 – electrical goods, household and builders' waste, car parts and tyres.  It is almost all on roads and footpaths and bridleways.  The numbers of prosecutions is practically zero – two in two years.

The District's budgets have considerable amounts of money in the specific business rates earmarked reserve, derived from the retained business rates pilot that ran for three years under the Conservative administration.

Better targets needed
I wanted to set some targets - specifically fly tipping

The Council will respond to and clear away fly‐tipping within two working days and increase its ability to investigate and crack‐down on fly‐tipping offenders.  Once an area gets a reputation as a suitable spot for fly‐tipping, it accumulates.

Clearing away quickly stops that – but to be effective the Council also needs resources to investigate and prosecute.  It can use drone technology to identify reports accurately and verify with complainants.

The cost for this would be £120k in revenue (vehicle plus two staff) and £100k capital for new vehicle.

An additional investigation officer at £30k with on costs.

Work with the police
The Council would commit to a new protocol with Cambridgeshire Constabulary to share resources and information to secure prosecutions.  The Council will set a target to monitor effectiveness in this area.

And on street cleaning, the District Council currently sweeps kerbsides twice a year dependent on resources.  Under this proposal, in future the Council will commit to carry out street sweeping in the major villages every quarter and in all other villages three times a year.

An additional sweeper with driver would be needed – with the driver trained and qualified to additionally support environment waste collection services too.

Whittlesford, Hatley and Shepreth show the way
I also said there should be a designated officer encouraging and organising community litter picks, like the one Whittlesford Parish Council arranged to cover parking areas near the A505 at Whittlesford; Hatley Parish Council engages villagers in an annual litter pick on the two mile stretch of the Croydon to Gamlingay running through the parish – the next is on Sunday, 21st March.

And the Friends of the River Shep has worked on hedge and tree planting and stream clean-ups in Shepreth under proper supervision from the Chalk Stream Trust.

These positive actions are to be commended – will the new administration at SCDC please take note.


Peter Topping

District Councillor, Whittlesford Ward

01223 834 905 / 07825 876 582
Peter Topping


South Cambridgeshire District Council

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