Agenda item

Improving and Enhancing the Physical Environment Town-Wide - Scrutiny Review

The Director of Environment and Commercial Services and the Neighbourhood Safety Manager will be in attendance to provide information in relation to Environmental Enforcement and Fly Tipping.


RECOMMENDATION: that the Panel determines whether further information is required.


Members watched a short video clip that had recently appeared on the BBC’s Look North programme that reported on fly tipping in Middlesbrough, the Council’s Environmental Enforcement Squad, and highlighted the action being taken.


The Director of Environment and Community Services provided further information in relation to environmental enforcement.  The Council had identified a significant need to increase environmental enforcement as part of reducing anti-social behaviour in Middlesbrough.  There had been a rise in commercial and domestic fly tipping across the town. 


The Council decided to try a new approach towards reducing fly tipping by introducing a flying squad to investigate and clean fly tips within three days of them being reported and increase enforcement activity against perpetrators.  Since the flying squad was introduced there had been a 28% reduction in fly tipping and the team had been shortlisted for a national Local Government Chronicle (LGC) award.


The team was currently made up of one Senior Environmental Warden who oversaw the day to management, nine Environmental Wardens, and five Area Care Operatives.


Environmental Wardens were responsible for taking action and responding to service requests for the following areas: 


           Fly tipping, littering, dog fouling, waste accumulation, waste presentation both domestic and commercial, trade waste enforcement.

           Illegal waste carriers, untaxed vehicles, abandoned vehicles and vehicles used in environmental crime.

           Dog Warden Service – Responsible for providing a statutory stray dog service (Not Dangerous Dogs).

           Enforcement of Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

           Dealing with Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) and other low level criminality when required.


The approach was that if people fly tipped in Middlesbrough, they would be fined.  Successful prosecutions were publicised in order to deter others from fly tipping.  The Council also tried to encourage people not to fly tip through environmental education. 


Details of the prosecutions to date were as follows:


Section 46 Notice issued (not presenting waste correctly) - 92

Fixed Penalty Notice Issued - 65

Fixed Penalty Notice Issued for Dog Fouling -12

Community Protection Warning Notice Issued - 35

Community Protection Notice Issued - 10

Vehicles seized in fly tipping -10

Vehicles Seized for untaxed or Abandoned - 56

Active Investigations pending referral to legal for court action - 60+ Cases

Stray Dogs taken to Registered Charity - 25

Weight of waste removed by Operatives - 650 Ton of Waste removed in last 12 months by Environmental Flying Squad.


In relation to time taken for prosecutions, it was explained that once evidence was provided there was legislative process to complete, which included identifying the perpetrator, contacting and interviewing them and forwarding the case to Legal Services to proceed to prosecution.  There was now a dedicated case working in Legal Services which had been a positive improvement to processing cases.   


The Neighbourhood Safety Manager agreed to provide some statistics in relation to timescales for prosecutions.


The timescale for collection of bulky waste items was up to 12 weeks for a free collection and up to 4 weeks if it was paid for.  It was highlighted that this was a service offered by the Council to assist residents but it was not a statutory requirement. 


Where properties were run down or gardens overgrown and likely to cause unreasonable alarm or distress to others, a Community Protection Warning could be issued.  The warning provided advice to a landlord or tenant to tidy up their property.  If the advice was not heeded this would be followed by a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).  If the FPN was not complied with, the ultimate sanction would be prosecution.  However, the Council would never prosecute someone who was unable to keep their property tidy for a legitimate reason.


Discussion took place in relation to side waste placed next to waste bins when they were full.   If this was outside commercial properties such as shops or takeaways, the Director stated that the bin capacity available may need to be reviewed.  Side rubbish that had been left from litter picks or by area care staff would be collected by the Council and taken to the appropriate waste disposal facility.


The Chair highlighted an incident where subsoil had been dumped on open land belonging to the Council.  It was confirmed that this incident was being dealt with by the Planning Development.


AGREED as follows that:

1.  the information provided was received and noted.

2.  information in relation to the timescale for prosecutions for fly tipping in Middlesbrough would be provided.



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