Critics demand more fly-tipping penalties are issued across the area

CRITICS have expressed their concern after council's across the region have issued a low number of fly tipping fixed penalty notices since new laws were introduced.

Tuesday, 3rd January 2017, 12:01 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:02 pm
Christopher Cleal was given a £800 fine at court in November after fly-tipping this mess in Duke Crescent, Buckland, Portsmouth

CRITICS have expressed their concern after council’s across the region have issued a low number of fly tipping fixed penalty notices since new laws were introduced.

Powers passed by the Government in May last year enabled council’s across the country to give out higher on the spot penalties between £150-£400 to anyone caught fly tipping.

But figures from a Freedom Of Information request show that Portsmouth City Council has handed out just two fixed penalty notices during the seven-month period.

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Gosport Borough Council has issued the highest number of penalties in the region with four.

And both Havant Borough Council and Fareham Borough Council have both not handed out a single one respectively.

Portsmouth Lib Dem leader and former council boss Gerald Vernon-Jackson, believes the council’s decision to take away free collections for bulky items has added to the problem.

And charges at tips for things such as plasterboard has too been a reason.

He said: ‘It is a pathetic number of penalties that have been handed out.

‘Fly tipping is reported every day and there are more and more around the city.

‘Now we do not have free collections for items like sofas and fridges, it is no wonder.

‘I have recently been to Belfast and they are ensuring the city is spotless to attract people.

‘For a city that relies on tourism, it is a bad image for Portsmouth, which is getting dirtier and grubby.

‘It is clear the council is not taking action.’

Gosport Lib Dem leader Cllr Peter Chegwyn said: ‘If we have only issued four then that is a shocking performance.

‘The council quite rightly crow about it when they do issue these fixed penalty notices, but there isn’t enough of them.

‘The tips reduced opening hours means people are finding the gates are closed and drop their rubbish off elsewhere.

‘Fly tipping seems to be a problem everywhere and it is difficult to catch someone as culprits do not do it in broad daylight.

‘But there is no point in us having the powers if we don’t use them.’

Council bosses have defended the number of fixed penalties for fly tipping that have been handed out.

Tory Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, says its Clean City Team’s policy is to educate than fine culprits.

Cllr Jones said: ‘Instead of issuing fines, with educate people of the importance of not fly tipping and the impact it has.

‘We have also increased the number of slots for collections of big items.

‘The council employs more people so the public can book a slot. There are now 60 slots available, compared to 30 previously.’

And Cllr Graham Burgess, chairman of Gosport Borough Council’s community board, believes the reason fly tipping penalties numbers is because of the Hampshire County Council’s successful household waste centre.

Cllr Burgess said: ‘We are pro-active with the issue. A lot of people use the tip in Grange Road and that is why we don’t have as many issues.

‘We also get pictures of people fly tipping. We follow them up and ensure we prosecute them every time.’