Clampdown on waste helps make city streets cleaner

By on 06/07/2016 in Cleaner Greener Streets, News

Birmingham City Council’s Waste Enforcement Team took action against more than 3,500 people and businesses for dumping or failing to get rid of their rubbish responsibly last year.

The new figures, published in the Regulation and Enforcement Services’ annual report for 2015/16, cover offences involving dumping and disposal of domestic and trade waste.

The report, which will be presented to the council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee next week (13 July 2016), also states that:

  • 436 investigations into trade waste disposal offences were carried out
  • 325 ‘duty of care’ statutory demand notices, which require businesses to provide details of their waste disposal arrangements
  • 59 fixed penalty notices (£300 fines) were issued to firms that failed to do so
  • A further 140 fixed penalty notices (£80 fines) were issued for littering offences caused by business or household waste
  • 107 notices were issued under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act, which require the removal of rubbish that is likely to harbour rats
  • 8 notices requiring the removal of fly-tipped or noxious matter
  • 2,866 statutory notices were issued to householders for waste presentation offences, most of which related to contaminated recycling (eg non-recyclable materials mixed in with their collection)

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “All of these offences are avoidable, as litter bins can be easily used and it takes just a little forethought to dispose of rubbish responsibly. Where waste is dumped it becomes the land owner’s responsibility to clear it up.

“Businesses must not use the domestic collection service; they have to take out a separate contract for their business waste – not doing so has been an offence since the Environmental Protection Act came into effect in 1990.

“These figures show that Birmingham City Council will not tolerate actions by thoughtless individuals who think dropping litter or dumping waste is acceptable – it is not.”

Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and the Environment, added: “Getting recycling right shouldn’t be a big ask, however if people don’t put their recycling in the correct bins it can contaminate everything collected by a dustbin lorry. Contaminated loads have to be sent to landfill or incineration, which is something we really want to avoid.

“If everyone in Birmingham recycled responsibly, putting the right thing in the right bin, we could significantly increase our recycling rate and reduce the number of statutory notices given to households for not doing so.

“Everyone can play their part, check your recycling is not mixed up, so to see what items go in which boxes or pods visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/recycling.”

The report also states that the council’s specialist team 13 enforcement officers, who tackle fly-tipping and uncontrolled waste across Birmingham, carried out 497 criminal investigations into fly-tipping and other related offences last year.

In addition, 39 prosecutions (either in year or from previous financial years) were successfully concluded in court between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

These included two men being jailed for a total of 17 months for dumping rubbish, including 15 sheep carcasses, in Priory Road, Aston, and a Selly Oak beauty salon owner who was ordered to pay £3,459 on for putting trade waste out for council household collections, and not having a valid private waste contract in place.

Abandoning rubbish (fly-tipping) is illegal and offenders can face an unlimited fine and up to five years’ in jail if convicted at Crown Court.

Initiatives aimed at keeping Birmingham’s streets free of litter resulted in more litter patrols which were increased by 28 per cent, up from 811 in 2014/15 to 1,040 last year.

This saw a significant increase (24.4 per cent) on the number of on-the-spot fines issued for individual littering offences – 5,855 up from 4,706 fixed penalty notices in 2014/15.

However 602 people were prosecuted for refusing to pay the £80 fine: upon conviction they were, on average, fined £179 plus £160 in costs. This represents a 63.5 per cent increase, on 368 in 2014/15.

Cllr Dring added: “Our environmental health officers and dedicated Waste Enforcement Unit are working with local businesses and communities to create a better understanding of how their rubbish should be disposed of and are cracking down on dumped waste.

“We need to love and respect our neighbourhoods and it’s disappointing to see rubbish being dumped on our streets. Keeping Birmingham’s streets clean is everyone’s responsibility so we will continue to clamp down on litter bugs, targeting areas where there is a persistent problem.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Notices requiring the removal of fly-tipped or noxious waste, or waste that is likely to harbour rats (under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act) can be issued to landowners or occupiers.

The statutory notices issued in relation to waste prevention offences advise residents what should and should not be put in their recycling.  It also states they could receive a fixed penalty notice if they offend again.

More information about what can and can’t be recycled can be found on the council’s website – www.birmingham.gov.uk/recycling

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