Waste crime enforcement team achieves top results in 2020 despite coronavirus

Besides the essential work supporting residents, communities and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Buckinghamshire Council has maintained its ‘business as usual’ services whenever possible. Testament to this is the 2020 result for the waste crime enforcement team, who achieved their third best year ever in terms of the amount fly tipping offenders have had to pay in fines, costs and other surcharges – even though there were no court hearings between 19 March and 5 August.

Bill Chapple OBE, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, commended the team: “Considering all the challenges of coronavirus we’ve had to face, this is certainly a very impressive result for our enforcement team.

“One of the more surprising challenges has been a national surge in fly tipping since the first lockdown came into force – and this has certainly been noticed locally. Hopefully this behaviour will reduce once the current situation passes, though it remains a fact that as much as two thirds of fly tipping in Buckinghamshire is done for commercial gain – either a trader avoiding disposal costs or the result of a ‘no questions asked’ waste removal job for a business owner or householder.

“Despite the challenges, our enforcement team is well-placed to maintain the council’s zero-tolerance approach to illegal dumping – prosecuting or issuing fixed penalty notices whenever there is evidence against an offender.

“I’d like to highlight two important ways that the public can help in the fight against fly tipping. Firstly, if you’re having rubbish removed, remember your duty of care – choose a bona fide waste carrier, and never pay in cash, as it helps an offender avoid being traced.

“Secondly, if you witness fly tipping taking place and it’s safe to do so, it’s a great help to us if you can collect evidence – especially a vehicle registration number – that can allow us to trace the offender. But never put yourself at risk, and avoid confronting someone you’ve witnessed fly tipping.”