Flintshire needs more enforcement officers to deal with growing side waste and fly tipping issues says council leader
The leader of Flintshire Council has said the local authority needs more enforcement officers to deal with growing side waste and fly-tipping issues.
Flintshire Council is set to reintroduction measures to punish those who leave rubbish outside their bins starting from September.
The local authority placed sanctions on hold when the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March last year because of the risk to the safety of enforcement officers, who are required to root through bin bags for evidence when offences occur.
The return of the measures is being proposed as refuse collectors gathered more than 3,000 tonnes of extra waste in 2020/21 – a 12 per cent increase in comparison to the previous year.
Officials said they could not continue to take in such large amounts because of the impact on the county’s recycling figures, which have dropped from 69 per cent in 2018/19 to 64 per cent in the last financial year.
In a report presented to councillors, Katie Wilby, the council’s chief officer for streetscene and transportation, said: “Following a review of the waste tonnage data, we have observed an unprecedented increase in the amount of residual waste being disposed of at the kerbside.
“This is attributable to a number of factors such as more people spending time at home, including people working from home, people taking the opportunity to undertake home improvements and more people shopping online.
“Due to strict national recycling targets set by the Welsh Government, this downturn in performance cannot be sustained.
“Additionally, the financial impact of the increased disposal costs is unsustainable and, if not addressed, will create substantial budget pressures.”
Speaking during a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, Cllr Ian Roberts said that during the easing of the side waste rules, one household left 32 bin bags of additional rubbish out for refuse collectors to take away.
“I suppose that is taking advantage, isn’t it! I think that from September, we need to take this situation back in hand.” The council leader said.
Cllr Roberts said: “We will be reimposing the three-stage process, a polite warning letter in the first instance, a notice of intention to take action and only on the third occasion, a notice of a possible a fine.”
Over 2,000 warning and improvement letters have been issued to residents for not complying with the waste and recycling collection policy since March 2018, of those 46 resulted in fixed penalty notices being handed out.
The council leader highlighted an issue in his Flint ward where a number of alleyways were “extensively” cleaned by housing and streetscene staff last week and were “looking very very good indeed.”
“This weekend, unfortunately, someone left a number of bags of waste there, I had a number of calls from residents who are not very happy at the situation.” He said.
Cllr Roberts added: “It is anti-social behaviour, it is discourteous in the extreme to your neighbours to dump your rubbish outside their properties, that’s before we get onto flying tipping.”
“Anti-social behaviour comes in many forms, flytipping is one of the most pernicious forms it comes in.”
“It causes massive problems and of course, it can cause an increase in the amount of vermin in an area.”
“As much as people may not like the reintroduction of enforcement measures, I believe the vast majority of the population do follow the rules and do what we ask.” He said.
The council leader said he is “of the opinion that we may need some more dedicated enforcement officers.”
“Enforcement officers have too many jobs to do, enforcing car parking, enforcing dog mess, littering and so on.
There needs to be some support so that if an issue of flytipping is reported, there are dedicated officers who will go out immediately and deal with that as a particular priority.” Cllr Roberts said.
The cabinet approved the introduction of side waste enforcement’s on curbside collections for residual waste from September 1.
In addition, it was proposed that a recommendation be made for a further report to come back to cabinet about additional enforcement officers to deal with the side waste and flytipping issues.
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