Decision details

Fly Tipping and Waste in the Borough's Back Lanes

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report (previously circulated) providing an updated position on the level of fly-tipping across the Borough, actions taken, comparisons with Tees Valley and the Council’s future strategies. 


It was stated that fly-tipping was a national problem and all Council’s had to report fly-tipping data through FlyCapture, a National database. 


Particular reference was made to the significantly reduced resources within Street Scene from both staff collecting and clearing fly-tips to enforcement staff who investigate and prosecute when evidence exists.  This reduction had resulted in back lanes receiving a fortnightly cleanse as opposed to weekly and a reduced response to fly tipping removal.

Details were provided of performance over the last three years and Members noted that the number of fly-tips recorded through FlyCapture was more in 2017/18 than in previous years. 


Members considered a breakdown of performance over the last three years which clearly showed that the majority of fly tips were deposited in back alleys and lanes across the Borough.  This was followed by Council land and highways, footpaths and bridleways.  The majority of waste was identified as coming from households and included black bags and furniture including mattresses and three piece suites. 


Members were made aware that the size of fly tips varied from a single black bag to a tipper truck load with large fly tips significantly rising from 93 in 2016/17 to 210 during 2018/19.  Large fly tips were generally household waste from a house clear which has been undertaken by a private company who then dump the waste illegally across the Borough.


Members were informed of the enforcement action undertaken since 2015/16 following a reduction in resources however it was noted that the focus for the staff had been abandoned vehicles, fly tips and waste in back lanes, resulting in an increase in prosecutions of over 150 per cent during 2017/18.


Details were provided of the number of fly tips within the Tees Valley with Redcar and Cleveland having the largest number and Stockton the least, however, Middlesbrough had the least number of back lane fly tips.  In relation to prosecutions Darlington had prosecuted considerably more than the other four authorities although Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland had issued more Fixed Penalty Notices.

Particular reference was made to the additional resources of £300,000 allocated to Street Scene as part of the MTFP 2018/19 which would be divided between street cleaning and grounds maintenance.  Additional Street cleaning resources would provide mechanical sweeping, back lane cleansing, litter picking, litter bin emptying and responsive work as well as additional street cleaning staff.  As a result, back lanes particularly in the problem areas are to be cleansed a minimum of once a week. 


Scrutiny Committee was also advised that a new Community Safety Unit was to be established to operate between the hours of 8am to 9/10pm.  The Unit is to include a new function of Civic Enforcement covering nuisance parking, civil parking enforcement, environmental crime, focussing on fly tipping, waste out in back lanes, abandoned vehicles and addressing incidents of anti-social behaviour.  The Unit will provide additional resources to undertake enforcement in relation to environmental crime with up to four Officers always available to prioritise workload and geographical area.


Discussion and challenge ensued on the feasibility of licensing traders who advertise house clearance and rubbish disposal services, however, Members were advised that these traders should hold a Waste Carriers Licence which is enforced by the Environment Agency.  All traders can be checked on the Environment Agency website to ensure they have a valid licence prior to members of the public engaging their services.  Work is also ongoing with the Police who regularly stop suspicious vehicles.


When asked whether waste was tracked Members were advised that Waste Transfer Orders are used to record a transfer of waste from one party to another.  Details include date, time and place of transfer, the parties involved, the license or permit number of the person receiving the waste and a description of the waste being transferred.  The Orders are signed by the person requesting disposal of the waste and double-signed by the waster operators.  It was also reiterated that it is the responsibility of the public to check that an Order is held by the company being hired to dispose of any waste.


Following a question in relation to the number of fly tips for 2017/18 Scrutiny was informed that there had been increased reports due to fortnightly collections as waste was often left for longer periods and that the charges introduced at Drinkfield during 2012 did not result in a significant rise in fly tips.


Members were also advised that the Council receives all monies from Fixed Penalty Notices whereas the Courts receive the income from Prosecutions.  Darlington’s approach had always been to prosecute as perpetrators then receive a criminal record and any person who fails to turn up for an interview also breaches Section 110 of the Environment Act.


Concerns were expressed that there were hot spot areas which were recognised by rogue traders as places where they could regularly fly tip without facing prosecution however Officers advised that where evidence existed offenders were prosecuted, the additional resources would ensure faster clearing of fly tips and a Data Analyst would be in the newly-established Community Team to determine where problems were persistent and should be able to provide a Ward by Ward breakdown of fly tips.  It was also confirmed that persistent offenders’ previous activities are also taken into consideration by the Courts.


RESOLVED – (a) That the submitted report be noted.


(b) That the future opportunities through the additional resources in Street Scene and Community Safety be noted.


(c) That Place Scrutiny Committee continues to support a zero tolerance approach to fly tipping in the Borough.




Publication date: 16/01/2019

Date of decision: 28/06/2018

Decided at meeting: 28/06/2018 - Place Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: