Fly-tipping blights St Albans - and has cost taxpayers £75,000 to clear

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 March 2016

Fly tipping on Sandridgebury Lane

Fly tipping on Sandridgebury Lane

Archant

Unsightly waste has again been dumped on country lanes in St Albans, prompting complaints from residents and councillors.

Fly-tipping in Potterscrouch Lane. Photo by Paul FosterFly-tipping in Potterscrouch Lane. Photo by Paul Foster

Incidents of fly-tipping this month include rubbish left about 400 yards from St Albans Girls’ School, on Sandridgebury Lane, and in Appspond and Potterscrouch lanes, near the mammoth waste wood mountain.

District Councillor for Park Street, David Yates, said that clearing illegally dumped rubbish had cost St Albans residents over £75,000 during the municipal year.

He pointed out that national statistics showed St Albans suffered a total of 1,130 fly-tipping incidents during 2014-15.

Cllr Yates added that this figure was 42 per cent more than in the previous year, and “around eight times the average increase seen across the UK.

Fly-tipping in Potterscrouch Lane. Photo by Paul FosterFly-tipping in Potterscrouch Lane. Photo by Paul Foster

“Park Street and St Stephen wards have been the worst hit, with around half of the incidents across the district recorded in this area.”

The councillor has urged the district council to do more to tackle the problem, as “only 36 of the 1,130 fly-tipping incidents recorded in 2014-15 were investigated, according to the statistics.

“These are shown as resulting in just two warning letters being sent.

“The district council fails to investigate them, leaving the fly-tippers to carry on without fear of anything being done.”

Motorists entering the city centre of St Albans are greeted with a message to take their litter home. Photo by Peter WaresMotorists entering the city centre of St Albans are greeted with a message to take their litter home. Photo by Peter Wares

By comparison, in 2009-10, 707 fly-tips resulted in 299 investigations, 55 warning letters and one prosecution.

Cllr Yates, who raised the issue at last month’s full council meeting, went on: “It’s a double blow for our area. The county council saves money by closing recycling centres and leaving residents to pick up the bill for clearing up fly-tips.”

The councillor urged: “Let’s start taking fly-tipping seriously again.”

He believes the rise coincides with sweeping changes to the opening hours of recycling sites across the county, including in St Albans.

Herts county council has changed the opening times, with most centres closed two days a week and operating from later in the morning, for fewer hours.

Harpenden’s centre is closed Thursday and Friday, while St Albans shuts its gates to visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tonight (Thursday) cabinet will discuss the growing fly-tipping problem, as on-the-spot fines for fly-tipping and other littering offences have been recommended for use in the district.

If the scheme comes into force, fixed penalty notices would be issued to offenders by trained officers working for the council.

Offenders would thus avoid being prosecuted, and possibly acquiring a criminal record. A typical fine for dropping litter is £75.

Cabinet has been asked to agree to develop an enforcement scheme, either by hiring new staff, or by using an external contractor.

• Local resident Paul Foster was annoyed after seeing “a lot of” fly-tipped waste in Appspond and Potterscrouch lanes, particularly in the wake of the ‘Clean it for the Queen’ campaign. He said: “Most of it appears to be building rubble, and the police put warning signs up.”

• Meanwhile in St Albans, Peter Wares noted that drivers entering the city were asked via electronic roadside signs to take their litter home with them. He said: “The sign by The Horn pub in Victoria Street was spotted on my way home following a local community litter pick.”

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