The Judge felt that his only option was to send the man to prison as 'it was unlikely costs would be recovered'. (Read the full story in the Peterborough Telegraph).
Is jail time ever the right response to fly tipping?
I think not, and I'll explain why.
1. Jailing people is a huge cost to the taxpayer
According to Prisoner Focus Education, it costs £65,000 to imprison a person once police, court costs and all other steps are taken into account. After that, it costs a further £40,000 for every year they spend incarcerated.
2. Jailing a fly tipper doesn't educate the public about fly tipping
Why do people fly tip? I've seen a lot of fly tipping around Peterborough. I've come to the conclusion that there are four different types of fly tipper messing up our city.
Four types of fly tipper
1. Residents who think they'll get away with it
Let's be honest. At one time or another many of us have decided that we can't wait for the council, or can't easily get to the recycling centre in Dogsthorpe and so have fly tipped our rubbish and hoped to get away with it. Out of sight, out of mind. It happens. Someone's doing it. If not you, then someone you know, and maybe someone you least suspect!
Take the example highlighted in the Peterborough Telegraph of the man who fly tipped the stinky freezer. The stink was apparently so bad that the van he used to transport it in had to be 'condemned'. So even before the freezer had been dumped a poor decision had been made. If the guy had called the council he wouldn't have gone to prison for a week, wouldn't have a criminal record and would still have his van! Absolutely crazy. And yet it's a risk that many people are taking.
2. Rogue traders
Some people know full well that fly tipping is anti-social and illegal and do it anyway. Some of these people are rogue traders who routinely prey on residents by knocking on doors and offering to take their larger items of rubbish to the recycling centre for what seems a reasonable fee. The problem is, unless they have an appropriate commercial licence and operate their business in a law-abiding manner, there's every chance these people will fly tip your rubbish. If the police are able to discover that the rubbish belonged to you then you are responsible for it and you are going to find yourself in a lot of trouble.
Rogue traders are a matter for the police and if you suspect a rogue trader has tried to persuade you to allow them to get rid of your rubbish the police will appreciate a call on 101 to let them know about it.
3. Rogue landlords
A lot of the fly tipping that we see around Orton is clearly house clearance. Some of it may be rubbish dumped by tenants or homeowners who are moving out and haven't made any arrangements to transport the items they no longer want to the recycling centre.
However, many landlords will need to do a house clearance before they can move new tenants in, either because the previous tenants have left things behind or because fixtures and fittings have been left in such a poor state that they must be disposed of. All landlords know of their responsibility when it comes to house clearance, yet it is obvious that some are fly tipping their rubbish (or the companies they subcontract for house clearance are fly tipping it).
If you see this happening in your street, report it to the council on 01733 747474.
4. Those who genuinely need more help
There are also residents who genuinely do not know what to do with their bulky waste and end up fly tipping it because they don't know what else to do. Before you cry 'You're too soft, Julie!', please consider this. Not everyone has the skills or the confidence to talk to the council about coming to take their rubbish away and not all have the means to take rubbish to the recycling centre themselves. These people need more help. In our highly disposable society, where furniture and furnishings are not made to last, they need to know what to do and how to make it happen. They will benefit enormously from a clear council information campaign, backed up with measures to make getting rid of large items EASY to do. More about this at the end of this article.
The charges are to blame!
Many people in Peterborough will say that fly tipping has got a lot worse since Peterborough City Council (PCC) began charging a £23.50 fee to take away bulky items. I don't doubt that this is true and I believe that residents should keep telling PCC that you are unhappy about the charge. I can assure you that a Green Party city council would take a different view on fly tipping because we believe that placing additional charges on residents for things they find difficult to do without help is not acceptable.
People are also, very understandably, annoyed at being asked to pay an additional charge to have their brown (garden waste) bin emptied. Many people simply can't afford this charge (£39 per year) and, as with the bulky item charge, there is a strong argument that the cost of this service should be covered by the council tax charge.
|Are you happy to pay £39 per year to have this emptied?|
What's the answer?
I don't believe prison is the right place for fly tippers. I believe the right place for fly tippers is out in the fresh air on community service, clearing fly tipping and learning how fly tipping harms communities and our natural environment.
Peterborough Green Party organises a litter pick somewhere in the city once a month at 10am on a Sunday morning. Join us and I guarantee that you will never feel the same way about litter and fly tipping again. Check out our Facebook page.
If you have bulky waste that doesn't go in the back bin please take it to Household Recycling Centre at Dogsthorpe.
If you can't get to the Household Recycling Centre, for £23.50 PCC will arrange to collect some bulky items from you. More information about the PCC service.
If you spot fly tipping, report it to PCC by calling 01733 747474 or us the My Peterborough app or FixMyStreet.
We don't have to put up with fly tipping Peterborough, but we do need to take collective responsibility for it. That means disposing of our own rubbish responsibly and reporting to the council any fly tipping that you come across. If you feel that PCC should do away with the £23.50 charge for collecting larger items and/or the £39 per year charge for garden waste then let your city councillor know. Many people feel that fly tipping in Peterborough got far worse when PCC introduced the £23.50 large item charge and a time-consuming and inconvenient permit scheme for taking rubbish to recycling centre by van. If you think these charges and/or the permit scheme are unfair, tell your councillor.
|Better in a skip than all over the street or in the woods|
Fly tipping amnesties
Peterborough Green Party believes there is another way to tackle fly tipping in communities and that is through the provision of community skips. The idea is to place a skip in a community for a few hours, publicise it well so that residents know it's there and can make arrangements to get their items to the skip, and make sure that there are security measures in place to prevent misuse of the skip.
There are plans to trial such a skip in Orton Goldhay this April. Nearer the time I will tell you more about this free service and will be asking for your help to make sure that everyone knows about it. Together we will make the amnesty a success and send out a strong message to everyone who lives in, has property in or who visits Orton that fly tipping is not acceptable here.