The £1million cost of cleaning up after fly tippers in Camden: 10,412 incidents annually
- Credit: Camden Council
A proliferation of dumped rubbish blighting Camden’s streets has prompted the council to demand tough new powers to issue on-the-spot fines to fly tippers
Figures released by Camden Council this week show 10,412 separate incidents of illegally dumped waste across the borough in the year to October 2014, resulting in a clean-up bill of £1million.
Worst-affected was Camden Town and Primrose Hill ward, while Swiss Cottage had the fewest incidents of fly-tipping.
The council this week vowed to tackle culprits. Environment chief Cllr Sally Gimson has written to communities secretary Eric Pickles demanding immediate powers to issue penalty notices, with the proceeds reinvested in projects to clean-up the community.
The cabinet member for environment and sustainability said: “We are calling on the government to give local authorities additional powers to issue on-the-spot penalties for fly-tipping offences rather than having to take costly and time-consuming court action against individuals who dump waste in Camden.
“Fly tipping isn’t just dumping waste on the street – it can also be putting out a bag of rubbish in front of your property when it isn’t collection day or when the rubbish is not due to be collected.
“Just one bag can encourage others to do the same, and quickly turn the street into a hazardous mess.”
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The council spends an average of £8.6million annually to keep Camden’s streets clean, of which £720,000 is spent clearing fly-tipped waste and £290,000 disposing of it.
The problems include students dumping rubbish when they move out of accommodation, people on short leases fly-tipping when tenancies end, workmen dumping builders’ waste, people leaving mattresses on the roadside and businesses illegally disposing of waste.
Some of the worst-affected streets, according to anecdotal evidence from the council’s waste enforcement team, are Billy Fury Way in West Hampstead, the bridge on Leybourne Road andTorbay Street in Camden Town, a former on-street recycling site in Minster Road, Fortune Green, and the Bridge Approach footbridge in Primrose Hill.
Currently the council can take offenders to court and prosecute them, but this is not always cost effective.
Elaine Chambers, chair of Winchester Road Residents Association, is familiar with the issues.
She campaigned for 34 years for a wheelie bin to be installed in Winchester Road, Swiss Cottage, as people living in flats above shops had no waste facilities. Now, seven months after it was finally installed, she has demanded its removal, saying the bin has become a dumping “eyesore”.
“I’d certainly welcome Camden making some effort to find out who’s doing all this dumping,” she said. “The bin in our road is used by everybody for miles around. What I find extraordinary is there’s this grand notice saying ‘Fines of £2,000 for dumping’ and everybody does it with impunity. So where is the council?
“The real issue is there’s no community support anymore. There was a time when neighbours would be outraged and the community would deal with this sort of thing. All we seem to be able to do now is take things to court.”
To find out more about the Clean Camden campaign, visit camden.gov.uk/cleancamden