FLY-TIPPING FEARS: Concerns that people are travelling to Solihull to dump waste
Fly-tippers could be making special trips to Solihull in an attempt to avoid a blitz on offending over the border in Birmingham, it is feared.
Concerns have been raised that culprits are increasingly crossing council boundaries to dump waste after tougher rules to combat the problem were announced in the second city.
Cllr Steve Caudwell, leader of Solihull Green Party, had cited fears that a stricter approach in the neighbouring authority might be driving incidents in certain parts of the borough.
Although the ruling Conservative group has insisted Solihull takes a tough line and six fines had been dished out following cases in the past year.
Highlighting fears at last week’s full council, Cllr Caudwell said: “[There are reports] some of the fly-tipping is coming from Birmingham City Council areas where enforcement is considered more robust.”
His comments echo concerns from Clean and Green – a North Solihull-based litter picking group – that recent suggestions of a “wall of shame” policy in Birmingham could tempt even more residents to cross over the border.
Areas such as Shard End, Sheldon, Acocks Green and Hall Green are directly next to Solihull, with easy access to its parks and public spaces.
Cllr Alison Rolf, cabinet member for stronger and safer communities, said the council targeted its efforts in local “hot spots” and had recently responded to complaints about incidents in the Smith’s Wood area.
“The environmental compliance team investigate all fly-tipping cases where there are lines of enquiry to follow, irrespective of their location within the borough,” she said.
“So far during the 2020/21 financial year, officers have issued six £400 fixed penalties for fly-tipping offences, five of which have been paid and one remains outstanding.”
There has been criticism in the past that more of the culprits aren’t caught and punished, although the council has argued that a “criminal burden of proof” must be applied in each case.
Almost one million fly-tipping offences were reported nationwide in 2019/20, with only 2,671 court fines and 75,400 fixed penalty notices imposed.
Full data for the current financial year is not due to be published for several months, but is likely to show a significant rise, with closure of council-owned rubbish tips during the first lockdown said to have fuelled cases.
Cllr Rolf has urged ward councillors to flag problem spots in their local area so they could be investigated by enforcement teams.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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