REVEALED: The facts and figures that show how fly-tipping costs us hundreds of thousands of pounds a year

Waste dumped in Trampers Lane, North Boarhunt last year
Waste dumped in Trampers Lane, North Boarhunt last year

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FLY-TIPPING has cost councils more than £430,000 in just one year, The News can reveal.

Across the wider Portsmouth area there were 4,309 incidents of items dumped on highways, railways, footpaths and council land.

Nearly 170 vehicle parts and 199 tyres were ditched by fly-tippers, with 13 animal carcasses also dumped in public.

But just one prosecution was launched – by Gosport’s council – in the whole of 2015/16, although authorities say more have been launched since then.

Six councils, Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham, Gosport, East Hampshire and Winchester, spent £137,214 on enforcement.

The same authorities spent £295,903 on clearing up the thousands of items of waste ditched in the countryside.

Graham Smith, from Solent Environmental Action, said: ‘It’s a crime, a serious environmental crime and it’s absolutely terrible. I know the issue with private landlords and farms, people dump it on their property then they have to pay costs of removing it.

‘It’s a massive problem for them. It’s a terrible expense when you’ve got fields that border country lanes.

‘You would have thought it would be immediate prosecution. It’s a massive expense for the council to clear it. That’s council taxpayers’ money. They should hammer down on it.

‘I know a lot of the time, with general litter, you can’t identify it but if they can identify it, why on earth would they warn anyone not prosecute?

‘Some prosecute for dropping a cigarette butt. It’s a terrible blight on the countryside.’

Analysis by The News of Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’s 2015/16 figures show:

n Portsmouth saw 1,099 incidents with a clear-up cost of £48,993 and £72,402 to enforce.

n Havant had 1,130 incidents, costing £44,407 to remove and £39,270 to enforce.

n Fareham saw 325 incidents, which cost £20,007 to clear up and £11,748 in enforcement cost.

n Gosport had 500 with £24,995 and £12,639.

n East Hampshire District Council had 509 incidents and spent £67,945 on the clear-up but just £132 on enforcement.

n Winchester City Council had 746 incidents, with £89,556 spent on clear-up and £1,023 on enforcement.

The figures also showed there were 62 ‘significant’ incidents, with multiple loads of rubbish dumped. Asbestos was found in 11 cases of the 4,309.

Highways and council land were targeted the most, with 2,062 and 1,518 incidents respectively.

Between the six councils, more than 1,100 warning letters were issued to suspected fly-tippers.

It comes as councils last month jointly-prosecuted Ashley Mooney, 27, formerly of Gosport, who was jailed for a spree across south Hampshire.

He had touted for business on Facebook but did not have a licence to deal with the waste.

The case highlighted residents’ responsibilities to ensure waste carriers have the right permissions, councils said.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said there have been incidents where 150 tyres were dumped in a road in East Hampshire and in North Boarhunt where sofas, TVs and a van were off-loaded in a lane.

He added: ‘Fly-tipping is a major bugbear in the Meon Valley and it rightly upsets residents who see this beautiful part of the world blighted by unscrupulous people who won’t pay to either recycle or legally dispose of the waste.

‘I’m concerned about the level of incidents, but reassured the police and the council are working hard to tackle the issue.’

Waste firm Hippo, based at 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour, Portsmouth, said the figures were ‘frustrating’.

Managing director Gareth Lloyd-Jones said: ‘It’s disappointing, although perhaps not unsurprising, that fly-tipping is still on the rise.

‘Although we’re a national waste logistics provider, we were founded and are still based in Hampshire, so to see that our councils incurred costs of nearly £500,000 clearing up over 4,000 incidents of fly-tipping is very frustrating.’

He said the firm has an assurance for every bag of rubbish it collects, with an official waste transfer note provided as proof.

Private landowners, including farmers, are responsible for the cost of removing rubbish.

NFU South East spokeswoman Isobel Bretherton said: ‘There are things farmers can do to prevent access to land but not in every case. It’s not practical to block up an often-used gateway. It all makes moving around the farm more difficult.’

A spokesman for East Hampshire District Council said: ‘We are also combatting this unacceptable offence by educating the public on their responsibilities and the consequences they may face should they not check the required documentation.’

Cllr Trevor Cartwright, executive member for public protection at Fareham’s council, said: ‘The council has a zero-tolerance approach to the offence. However, in order to prosecute someone we need to have strong evidence to prove it was them or to have witnessed them in the act.

‘We would encourage members of the public to report any incidents of fly tipping to us with as much information as possible.’

He warned people to check anyone they pay to take away rubbish has the proper licence and give a receipt.

Colette Hill assistant director of property and housing at Portsmouth City Council said: ‘Since our review of enforcement services in late 2015, we’re carrying out more investigations and in 2016/17 there have been six prosecutions and we’ve issued four of the new fixed penalty notices.’

The power to issue fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping was granted to councils in April 2016.

A Havant council spokeswoman said already 45 notices had been issued, and that in the 12 months to January 2017 fly-tipping had dropped to 961 incidents. The council plans to launch a public awareness campaign about residents’ responsibilities. She added the costs compiled by Defra are an estimated cost based on a national funding formula so do not accurately represent costs.

A Winchester City Council spokeswoman said: ‘The fly-tips in the Winchester district range from black bags left in lay-bys through to serious industrial fly-tips.

‘In 2016 we carried out five prosecutions under sections 33 and 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. One of these cases resulted in a 12-month prison sentence and a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order. The rest received significant fines. We have further cases pending prosecution, and more still under investigation.’

A Hampshire-wide fly-tipping strategy is being developed, a Campaign to Protect Rural England Hampshire spokeswoman said.

Chairwoman Dee Haas said: ‘CPRE Hampshire wants to see an end to fly-tipping. It is an eyesore, an environmental polluter and a hazard to domestic animals and wildlife.’