Stronger enforcement and stiffer fines await flytippers and litter louts

Published: 19 October 2016

The council is about to hit litter louts and flytippers with a double whammy - a stronger enforcement team and much heavier on-the-spot-fines.

An external team of contractors is to be employed as additional litter inspectors to enhance and strengthen the existing squad which has been hitting flytippers hard this year.

So far this year the council’s in-house team has fined more 1,100 people and business owners for flytipping and littering. And when the team employed three extra members of staff in May, this trio alone gave out 378 on-the-spot-fines in their first eight weeks.

Based on their success, the council is to now conduct a pilot scheme using an additional team of inspectors to target those who drop litter or dump rubbish on Wandsworth’s streets.

These extra personnel will wear uniforms and body cameras and target litter hotspots across the borough seven days a week. They will commence work early in the New Year and will not be required to hand out a pre-ordained number of fines nor will they be operating under any kind of bonus system.

Both they and the in-house team will however be dishing out much stiffer financial penalties to those caught dropping litter or dumping waste. These fines have increased from £80 to £400 to reflect the council’s zero-tolerance approach to flytipping and to also help recover some of the clear-up costs borne by the public purse.

The council spends upwards of £4m a year to keep the borough’s streets clean and some of this amount relates directly to the cost of picking up waste that people have dropped or dumped either deliberately or through carelessness.

As well as employing more inspectors, the council is also using small portable CCTV cameras at various hotspots to gather evidence for prosecutions.

They are also targeting businesses not fulfilling their legal obligation to have a written contract with a licensed commercial waste removal company. Some shops, restaurants and other businesses try to avoid paying to have their waste collected – preferring to dump it on street corners leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.

Some landlords too would rather leave worn-out mattresses and unwanted furniture on pavements rather than pay to have these items disposed of properly when their tenancies change.

Both teams will continue targeting these types of cases – plus those where residents have left their  refuse sacks out on the public highway – often next to street trees or lamposts – thus offering wild animals like foxes and cats the chance to rip them open and spread the contents everywhere.

And they will also look to collar unlicensed waste removal operators who drive around the streets looking for large items of waste to collect - and having taken money to dispose of it properly - simply drive around the corner and dump it.

The council is working hard to keep Wandsworth’s streets clean. Every residential street in the borough is cleaned at least once a week, but some hotspots benefit from up to three sweeps and litter picks each week.

The council has also made it much easier for people to report flytips and other problems. A new ‘Wandsworth Report It’ app is now available so that people can report these problems whilst on the move.  The app is available on Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices.

Residents and businesses can also report flytips and request clean ups via the council’s website.   

Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We are working really hard to keep the borough’s streets as clean and tidy as possible.

“Most are in good condition but there are pockets of our borough where flytipping is more commonplace and we will be focusing the efforts of these new inspectors in these areas.

“By stepping up our enforcement levels and imposing much stiffer penalties on those who drop litter or dump rubbish, we aim to send out a really strong message to all those who think they can get away with spoiling our local environment.

“We want to work with local residents and businesses to keep our streets clean and the extra resources we are putting into expanding our litter team will help us achieve that goal.”

Businesses can find full details about their legal responsibilities at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/waste