There were also two vehicles seized, and action taken for people who allowed their waste to be dumped by illegal flytippers. And CCTV cameras could be on the way for the worst grot-spots.
These are among the actions revealed at the latest Doncaster Free Press round table discussion, held at the Civic Offices, on the topic of flytipping and litter, in the second part of our report. Part three will appear in next week’s edition.
Free Press community engagement editor David Kessen chaired.
Our panel was: Our panel was Robert Scarborough, Doncaster Council environmental crimes officer; Andy Rutherford, council head of street scene and highways operations; Nigel Cannings, litter pick organiser in Tickhill; John Brooks, council enforcement officer, Bex Shaw; Doncaster Green Team; Jackie Dusi. Arksey Ladies Community Group; Clarissa Jackson, Warmsworth Environmental Group; Gaynor Spencer, Keeping Rossington Tidy.
What can be done to deal with litter and flytipping?
Robert Scarborough: As an authority last year we took action against 4,394 people for littering offences. That’s a real message that we won’t accept littering, so there are things that we can do. We’re trying to make sure that people are aware of that. We’ve talked about bins. Looking around Doncaster I think there are a lot of bins out there.
Gaynor Spencer: They’re not always the right size, though.
Clarissa Jackson: I know of two bins in Warmsworth that have been removed because they were damaged and not replaced. One is near the hairpin bends on the way to Sprotbrough, and they won’t put a new one there in case a car goes through it.
Gaynor Spencer: Outside the One Stop at Rossington there are two bins that are blocked off with metal where you’d put the litter in, so they can’t be used.
Andy Rutherford: We have 3,500 litter bins, but in areas were there are hot spots we put bigger bins on. We’re always keen to look at areas where bins are being well used to put a bigger bin in. It helps us.
Nigel Cannings. Our issues tend to be on the outskirts of Tickhill, on the connecting lanes, where people drive through, drop it, and they’re away. Luckily we have a community who go out walking and cycling, and if they spot them they report them back to the council, and we get the help in a week or so. We do litter picking with St Mary’s School in Tickhill and go out once every term with them, at the request of their headteacher, Mrs Sanderson, and the children look forward to it.
Jackie Dusi: Children love going out. They do like it.
NC: Get them at that age and they do remember. We do a talk with half the class and take the other half out, and then vice versa.
RS: Plastics have been high on the agenda recently so hopefully children will be well education on that as an issue.
There has been mention of Grange Lane in Rossington and Lords Head Lane in Edlington. These are well known targets for flytipping. As an enforcement team, we have all these spots listed so our officers know to double check these spots on a regular basis. They are checked regularly. We go out and look for rubbish and look through it for evidence to take further action. We are also looking at better camera solutions that we can invest in as an authority. We are moving forward with that.
What is the extent of prosecutions in Doncaster for flytipping and litter?
RS: We are quite pro-active. There were 4,394 fined for dropping litter last year. There were 23 fixed penalty notices issued for flytipping for smaller fly tips. There were 14 fixed penalty fines for larger fly tips. The Government allowed us from 2016-17 to start issuing fixed penalties for fly tipping which was better for us. We also took 23 prosecutions against people who failed to deal with their duty of care for their waste, which was later flytipped, and were unable to tell us who they had given it to; and we took 29 successful prosecutions against flytippers, as opposed to fixed penalties. The numbers are moving forward and we have had some decent results around that. That was for the 2018-19 financial year. Amongst that our officers are working hard to deal with people who are not presenting their waste correctly. We’re working to prevent this waste from coming on the streets. There was mention of urban areas like Hexthorpe and Balby, and the back alleys. Our officers will find out if there is waste building up in people’s gardens and make them aware of their responsibilities over that, so they know we’re aware and it won’t come out as flytipping.
JD: Do you think the penalties are harsh enough?
RS: We’re bound by legislation. We’re on the maximum fine for flytipping, and maximum fine for littering, which is £150 – it is a lot of money to get fined for littering. We also give out a fixed penalty for duty of care notices, for people who fail in their duty of care for their rubbish, which is £250. That’s a discounted rate, but we feel it is proportionate.
JD: Are there any repeat offenders?
RS: Not that we’re aware of.
JD: I think if there are repeat offenders, you should impound the vehicle and crush it.
RS: That’s what we would do. We do seize vehicles from flytippers. There have been two in the last 12 months, and that was for larger scale operations. They would be crushed or sold on depending on the vehicle.
What are the main problems in terms of litter, rather than flytipping?
Bex Shaw: I think its cars and fast food.
JD: In my village there are railway crossings at either end, and it’s disgusting round there, because they sit in their cars for hours so they tidy the car out, dropping it as litter. This morning there was someone cutting the hedges, so one piece of litter is now 20 pieces of litter.
BS: That’s one of my bugbears, litter getting mown. I contacted Streetscene about this issue recently. They are strimming the verge. I’ve seen someone with a mower while I’ve been out litter picking. I’ve been told that they are supposed to pick the litter up first.
AR: They should be picking it up first. We have a zero tolerance policy on this. They are supposed to pick up the litter before they mow the grass. We need to know and we’ll take action.
BS: I realise parks are big areas, but it’s very rare I see someone litter picking and mowing.
NC: The road between Balby and Wadworth has recently seen the verges cut. It’s been cut, the litter’s been picked up, but they’ve not collected up the bagged rubbish.
JD: When I’ve done a litter pick, the council has always been brilliant at picking up the bags. As long as we let them know, they’ll even bring us out litter picking sticks if I’ve not got enough.
RS: You can report people dropping litter from a vehicle online.
JD: It’s just taking the details of a registration while you’re driving that is the issue. I’ve seen someone throw litter out of the window at the railway crossing. I rang up and when I called they said ‘would you be prepared to stand up in court?’, and I said yes, I would. I’m not frighten of being accountable, but I never heard anything.
RS: I saw someone when I was walking through Thorne. He was throwing rubbish and cans out of his window in broad daylight. Because I’m an enforcement officer I could deal with it there and then, so I did. Its important that the public report this sort of thing to us so we can take action.
GS: People don’t always want to approach in case they get abuse.
RS: If you take a registration from the car and a description of the individual we can write to them and send them a questionnaire. We get a lot of them back.
AR: Keep the time and the date and location and as much detail as possible.
RS: It can at least make people aware that they have been seen.