Fly-tipping is costing Calderdale taxpayers £200,000 a year

Fly tippers who have blighted Calderdale with rubbish are being warned they will be caught and dealt with for their actions.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown in March, 2020, Calderdale Council ’s community safety wardens have received a massive 80 per cent increase in reports coming in about fly tipping.

It is a small part of the wardens’ overall workload, but it is a constant battle, said community team manager Natasha Lymm.

Clearing up and disposing of illegal dumping and fly tipping costs the council more than £200,000 a year of council taxpayers’ money.

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But the conviction of a fly-tipper recently serves notice the issue is not only taken very seriously but shows increased warden numbers and a wider range of tools which the team have available to trace the perpetrators is now having an effect.

Close working with partners including Calderdale’s police throughout the pandemic, increased numbers of wardens, extra technology and crucial intelligence provided by the public all increases the likelihood tippers will be caught.

Natasha said the high-profile jailing of serial fly tipper Malcolm Pinder – a Bradford man who regularly tipped in Calderdale – sent out an important signal.

The warden team had increased numbers to deal with situations arising from the pandemic and also had an impact dealing with a range of other anti-social behaviours including fly tipping.

“To be able to court and get a prosecution was a massive success for us.

Wardens with one of their movable cameras
Wardens with one of their movable cameras

“Because of the amount of staff we have been able to bring in it has affected our success rate, we have been able to collate the evidence and get people to go out and get the evidence for us,” said Natasha.

She said the council approached the issue with the guidance of “engage, educate, enforce” – the latter was a last resort but the prodecution shows serious offenders will be punished.

“It is a last resort but it is an option we do use.

“There has to be action for the consequences of your actions.

“We engage with people and let them know what will and won’t be tolerated in Calderdale,” she said.

Items which have been dumped in Calderdale – and many other areas of the country – include cars which have been abandoned, two in the same period of time at Regency Way at Ovenden, Halifax, where wardens follow procedure once a suspicion had been reported by the public or they have seen vehicles themselves.

Registered keepers of ditched vehicles are sent a letter and given 14 days to remove it, with vehicles taped up signalling to the keeper if they arrive and to the public action is being taken.

After the 14 days, contractors will be brought in to remove the vehicle, said Natasha.

The fly tipping prosecution with its resulting media publicity and other smaller steps, for example wardens can and do issue on-the-spot fines for littering, educate people about action they may face.

Even drivers throwing litter out of vehicle windows have been caught, working in concert with the DVLA.

“They go away and groan and complain to people – but it gets the message across,” she said.

This is borne out by reaction on the doorstep reported by colleagues, the council’s neighbourhood wardens.

Based at Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre, Halifax, experienced neighbourhood wardens Jonny Cato and Zameer Akhtar said word of the recent prosecution had quickly and certainly got around.

A new key weapon in the wardens’ armoury for tracking down fly tippers are a dozen new cameras, in addition to existing ones.

These can be moved around the borough, often in response to information provided by concerned members of the public, whose role is so important in helping catch tippers.

Constantly monitored by wardens at their CCTV centre, information supplied by the public can help pinpoint times and places where illegal tipping has been happening. As well as using tech, patrols can be stepped up, said Natasha.

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Recently wardens have been dealing with issues at Old Lane, Halifax, which saw dumped items including a mattress and an armchair on the route to North Bridge, Halifax, which has also recently been a hot spot.

Incidents are reported to the council’s Safer, Cleaner, Greener team who will remove it, but Natasha says as the cost is borne by Calderdale Council taxpayers it is coming out of everyone’s pocket and it is in everyone’s interest to prevent incidents which are both unsightly and costly.

Fly tipping can be reported to the council here.

People who hire a service to dispose of rubbish should also check whether they are licensed – local authorities provide papers to operators to prove they are accredited and will dispose of waste properly.

Otherwise dumped rubbish is trawled for information, such as a document bearing an address, which can be traced and ultimate responsibility lies with the hirer.

More funding is needed to keep wardens’ numbers up, and Natasha compiles the stats which prove their effectiveness by year-on-year comparison.

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YorkshireLive – Halifax