Yesterday evening a group of Sutton residents – Mark Inskip, Brett Collard and myself – asked a series of questions at the Community & Environment Committee of East Cambridgeshire District Council. Our aim was to get the council to commit to doing something about the perpetual nuisance of fly-tipping.
Mark (pictured here with me at the Pound Lane recycling point) asked whether the council would improve the signage at the site and consider using CCTV to identify fly-tippers. The current rather weather-beaten sign directs residents to the recycling centre at Grunty Fen, which was closed 18 months ago! The council’s response was that there was no money for better signage, though they would put up some small laminated notices on the bins at the centre directing people to Witchford. They also, apparently, have the wrong kind of CCTV equipment, which can’t be installed at Pound Lane – and no money for better equipment, either.
Brett asked whether the council would stop discouraging residents from preserving evidence of the identity of fly-tippers gathered from dumped rubbish. The council’s response was that this made it more difficult for the council to prove its case against fly-tippers in court – although, as the council has not mounted any prosecutions at all in the last three years relating to fly-tipping in Sutton, it’s hard to see the logic of this answer.
Finally, I asked whether the council had any plans to improve on the current three full working days which is the target for the council to clear up fly-tipping at Pound Lane after it has been reported. The council did agree that this has been a problem, and has said it will introduce a regular three-day-a-week clean-up schedule for the Pound Lane site in view of the ongoing problems we have experienced here. That at least is good news.
The council has only one enforcement officer to deal with fly-tippers across the whole of East Cambridgeshire. It’s therefore little surprise that the council’s record of action on fly-tipping isn’t as robust as, for example, that of next-door South Cambridgeshire. But the residents who set this campaign in motion have been promised a meeting with the enforcement officer, where we’ll be able to discuss what else could and should be done to address this all-too-regular nuisance.