When you travel around the country you realise there are some issues that affect every town and city.
Flytipping is one of those issues. No matter where you live, it seems that a small minority of people find it acceptable to dispose of their waste illegally.
On Monday I chaired a cabinet meeting where members discussed a report by a cross-party task and finish group which I set up to investigate and make recommendations on how we might reduce flytipping.
Councillors who sit on the group presented their recommendations, which included expanding the bulky waste collection service to allow one free collection of up to five items per household per annum, reviewing the Household Recycling Centre’s opening times and for a proposal to be worked up which allows commercial waste to be disposed of at the recycling centre for a charge.
When you consider that two thirds of fly-tipping comes from households, it’s clear that we also need to do more to educate residents of their responsibility when it comes to disposing of their waste – a further recommendation of the task and finish group.
This week a new campaign has been launched by RECAP, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Waste Partnership, which urges people to make sure their waste is being taken away by a registered waste carrier, to a suitably licenced disposal site.
If you pay someone to take waste away on your behalf, check that they have a waste carrier’s licence and you can also check the company on the Environment Agency’s website before using them. Be aware, if someone flytips your waste, you as well as the person who flytips, could be landed with a hefty fine.
The vast majority of our residents are clearly using the facilities that are available. The Household Recycling Centre has proved a huge success since it opened in February, with 170 tonnes of additional recycling deposited there since February, compared to the same period the year before. The knock on effect is that there is 200 tonnes less residual waste being deposited.
The recommendations that have been made by our cross-party working group are not a panacea, but they are a step in the right direction to reducing levels of flytipping and the money the council spends each year clearing it up – currently in the region of £200,000.
That’s money we can better spend providing care for the elderly, supporting children in need, creating housing and providing the many other services that our residents need.
Lord Bourne restoring Faith in our communities
Yesterday I was pleased to welcome Lord Bourne, the Minister for Faith, to the city to find out more about the good work taking place to get people more involved in their communities. It was great to talk to him about how we want to support communities to make them stronger and able to do more things for themselves, and each other.
Whilst he was here he learned about our new young people’s interfaith forum which will bring young people of many different faiths together, to help build understanding and create lasting friendships.
He also met a group of talented young people who are completing the National Citizen Service scheme. From learning beauty skills to gardening, these young people take these skills into their community, to provide a bit of extra support for those who need it.
We all need to take more responsibility for what goes on in our community – to look out for our neighbours – and it’s great to see young people leading the way.
Trading Standards bringing scammers to justice
Our trading standards officers do a fantastic job of protecting residents from scams and unscrupulous traders.
There’s no better example of this than the case involving Life Comfort Products Ltd which saw managers of the Peterborough furniture company aggressively targeting vulnerable elderly homeowners.
Last year the directors, management and staff were convicted of professional diligence charges and sentenced following an 18-month long investigation by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards. Earlier this month a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing ordered four of the company’s directors and employees to pay back over £350,000.
Afterwards some of the victims got in touch with our trading standards team and expressed their gratitude for the tenacity and determination shown by officers in bringing these people to justice.
One person who wished to remain anonymous put it perfectly – it’s a comfort to know that there are guys like you, persevering against parasites like this. Good has triumphed over evil! Give yourself a big pat on the back!
Very well said, I couldn’t agree more.