Fly Tipping – A Solution – NBC to Take Action?
Fly tipping across Northampton has been an ongoing issue that has unquestionably increased in the past year and which there appears to be no solution, or at least that is the impression given by those in control of the Borough Council who rather than talk about prevention and their responsibility prefer to talk about enforcement.
Of course no-one condones fly tipping and there is a place for enforcement of an issue that costs the Northampton taxpayers the best part of almost £1 million a year to remove and send to landfill which in itself is bad enough but it is also the impact on the local community who are subject to the sight of rubbish on the streets in their neighbourhoods.
It is also unhelpful that the number of teams employed to pick up fly tipped items has been amongst the Borough Council cuts to front line services.
The question is why and perhaps most importantly where do people fly tip?
In this year alone I have reported over 475 cases of fly tipping, the majority of which have been removed within two working days and there are some commonality about the areas and location of the tipped items.
Firstly of course people who fly tip not unsurprisingly tend to do so at night when there is no-one around and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that where items are left on the roadside or on footpaths they have chosen areas and in reality areas around lampposts that have been switched off as part of the County Councils cuts.
Secondly and I think even more important is that fly tipping predominantly takes place in areas that have been left to deteriorate and look uncared for, areas where not only the local residents but also other residents who don’t live in the area feel have been abandoned by the Borough Council.
An example of what I mean is the difference between the flats in Ham Meadow Drive and flats in Mushroom Field Road in Ecton Brook which are less than 100 metres apart.
The area around the Ham Meadow Drive flats is well cared for with the undergrowth having been removed and grass laid to provide a clear view and access to the flats. Euro Bins have been installed in appropriate fenced compounds where the residents have somewhere to leave their domestic rubbish.
The result being that the residents not only of the flats but adjacent homes keep the area clean and well-kept and there is no fly tipping.
In contrast I report a minimum of at least three cases of fly tipping a week around the Mushroom Field Flats where the undergrowth has been allowed to take over, even to the point that access to one of the doors at the rear is almost impenetrable. The residents are still collecting their rubbish in ‘black sacks’ and as a result there is a build-up in rubbish almost immediately after the weekly collection has taken place.
But and it is a big but the fly tipping in the area cannot and should not be put down solely to the residents of the flats.
It is an area that not only the residents of the flats but also the people who live in the homes in Mushroom Field Road are ashamed to live and who report that they see people from other areas coming to get rid of their rubbish, a real example of the ‘broken window theory’ where if an area is abandoned and uncared for it becomes a target for those who want to dump their rubbish.
I have used this example because it is one I know well and I’m sure others will see replicated across the whole of Northampton.
What is noticeable when I visit friends in other parts of the country is that the level of fly tipping is less than in Northampton and that, as I wrote about in a previous blog, the environment is given priority with grass being cut regularly and to a good standard, areas around housing being well maintained and undergrowth along footpaths and roads being cut back to provide a real sense of pride.
I don’t believe that the correlation between areas that are uncared for and fly tipping can be put down to coincidence.
If it was then why isn’t there fly tipping in areas such as Little Billing and Great Billing?
The main question that the Northampton Borough Council Conservative administration should be asking is “Where is the majority of reported fly tipping located” and then having the commitment to spend taxpayer’s money investing to maintain the areas and provide the level of cleanliness and care that will prevent fly tipping taking place.
The alternative is to carry on wasting huge amounts of tax payers’ money on continuing to clear fly tipping.
Perhaps they could start with Mushroom Field Road and see if it works?