COMMENT: We must all remain alert to blight of fly-tipping

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Perhaps it is a problem that will always be with us – but it shouldn’t be.

Today, yet again, we are reporting on another case of fly-tipping. This one might raise the flicker of a smile at first – after all, the rubbish has been brazenly dumped underneath a sign specifically forbidding such activity.

But it’s not funny. It’s distressing that someone thinks it is acceptable to leave an old sofa out in public for someone else to clear up – and it is also frustrating that this case is another in which the division between public and private land is apparent.

In short – and there is no blame attached to anyone or any organisation here – Portsmouth City Council is bound in cases like this because it is not public land. And the responsibility falls on the landowner, who, as in most other similar cases, has done nothing to warrant the extra cost of removing the debris.

So what is the answer? CCTV can’t be everywhere, and nor can wardens, patrollers, police officers and other forms of enforcement.

Again, we can only re-emphasise that everyone who sees fly-tipping should report it, and that anyone who spots rubbish being dumped should be on the phones straightaway.

But again, while fly-tipping is a crime wherever you look in the country, it is bizarre that different areas now have different rules for their tips – where easy tip access is a guaranteed way of reducing the blight of dumping.

Councils stopped residents from dumping what they classed as DIY rubbish – as in soil, hardcore and plasterboard for free. But while West Sussex has relaxed that after government advice, Hampshire is maintaining its charges. It seems strange to apply a postcode lottery to a situation such as this; we need a national framework to try to tackle this mess.

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