More councils should take a tougher line on dumping

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STEVE CANAVAN: Making a molehill out of Malcolm, my very minor ailment

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Fly-tipping is a menace. Whether it’s in a layby, street or rural area and whether it’s a bin bag, fridge or mattress, it looks extremely unattractive. But plenty of people are still prepared to dump their waste in public places rather than at official centres that exist to handle refuse.

We reveal today how rubbish has been illegally left in streets and beauty spots across the Portsmouth area 2,723 times in the past 12 months – an average of seven times a day.

Maybe some people are just too lazy to drive to their nearest dump. Instead they think it’s okay to leave their detritus where they choose. Well shame on them.

Perhaps other householders and small businesses have trusted companies offering waste disposal services, but have not checked they are legitimate and the waste has then been dumped instead of disposed of properly.

These people may claim they have been conned, but did they check for any official documentation to show the company was licensed to deal with household waste?

Then there is the large-scale fly-tipping which can involve several truckloads of construction and demolition waste being tipped, purely to avoid having to pay a fee for its proper disposal.

Meanwhile the rest of us are paying dearly to clear up the mess. Figures suggest it costs £55 for councils in the region to deal with each incident of fly-tipping, adding up to almost £150,000 for just one year.

It can be hard to track people down because often there is no evidence that can lead to identification and then prosecution. But it’s pleasing to see that proactive councils are achieving results.

In Gosport people are being encouraged to pass on information and incidents are responded to quickly. That’s how somebody was caught dumping waste in the creek and issued with a fixed penalty notice.

If people are dumping rubbish using a vehicle, then the council will also ask the courts for the power to seize it.

It’s exactly the kind of no-nonsense approach that other councils should be taking.