Fining flytippers and stamping out scammers

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.

Leader opening recycling centre

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. (more…)

Looking to tidy up fly-tipping law

Regular readers of this blog will know that fly-tipping is a big bugbear of mine, it really gets my goat.

Fly-tipping blights our communities, impacts on the environment and is completely unnecessary. Waste can be easily collected or disposed of in our city at our household recycling centre. There is no need for it.

One aspect of the law which is causing problems when it comes to fly-tipping is the fact that if someone fly-tips on private land, it is currently the land owner’s responsibility to clear up the mess left behind.

Flytipping in the street

This has always seemed unfair – obviously it’s not their fault and they may not have the means or the time to remove it themselves.


Taking control of vital services

At Monday’s council cabinet meeting I will ask members to take an innovative step and set up a new Local Authority Trading Company. Our plan is for this new company to take control of important services like waste and recycling, street cleaning, and our parks and open spaces.

These services – currently provided by Amey – are so key to the quality of our streets and communities that we believe now is the time to try a new approach to drive up quality. We will be able to quickly deliver changes on the ground, and drive forward improvements.

The company is free to operate as a commercial company but will remain wholly owned by the local authority, giving us control over the way it delivers services that matter most to you while avoiding paying profits to contractors.

A successful growing company will also be able to compete for more business, and generate much needed income for the council that can be spent locally, improving services here in Peterborough.


So much to look forward to

Flytipping is a crime which affects everyone in our city.

It not only ruins the look and feel of an area, it dents the pride residents have in their local communities and is also a very real fire risk.

In May I wrote in this blog that one of my top priorities is eradicating flytipping and I wanted to give you an update on how we are getting on.

We are going to set up a cross party task and finish group of members to look at best practice elsewhere and produce a robust and detailed action plan to tackle this scourge for approval by cabinet by the autumn.


Free bulky waste trial set to be launched across the city

As leader of the council, it’s my role to listen to what residents want and where possible, to deliver initiatives that will benefit us all.

So, it was a pleasure last week to be able to announce a trial for free bulky waste collections around the city.

The three-month trial will begin later this autumn and during this period every home will be entitled to one free residential bulky waste collection of up to ten items free of charge.

It’s being launched in direct response to public concern about fly-tipping around the city. Households will be able to book a collection to be picked up by the council and disposed of to prevent it from becoming an eyesore on our streets.

Fly-tipping is a particular bug bear of mine, as it immediately detracts from the positive look and feel of an area, as well as causing a potential fire risk for nearby residents.

Flytipping in the street

More information on the trial, including the start date, will be issued in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Running alongside the trial will be a scheme where households can take additional waste to large freighter lorries positioned at different sites around the city.

These collections will be advertised locally and I hope that both initiatives will have a positive impact in keeping our streets clean and improving the environment of the areas in which we live.


Peterborough’s parks rated amongst the best in England

This week we announced that four of our parks and open spaces have been praised as amongst the best in the country.

Central Park on Park Road, Itter Park in Walton, Manor Farm Park in Eye and Victoria Gardens in Millfield have all received Green Flags – a sign that they boast the highest possible standards, are beautifully maintained and have excellent facilities.

It’s great news for Central Park in particular, which has now been flying the flag for 14 years. I’m not surprised – it’s home to a wonderful selection of plants and trees, a great play area and paddling pool for the children, the lovely Buttercross tearoom and of course the bowling green and tennis courts. Above all else it is tidy and attractive thanks to our colleagues at Amey who manage the park, and all our open spaces, on our behalf.

Amey works hard to keep our city looking clean and tidy, but there is still a minority who choose to undo its good work and litter, graffiti or dump waste illegally.

That’s why I have made it easier for residents to call and report issues, so that we can investigate and catch the perpetrators.


Working with police and fire service to tackle anti-social behaviour

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know I am incredibly proud of how our city is evolving.

We have new shops and restaurants opening in our city centre, development is springing up across the wider city creating housing, retail and leisure opportunities and we have lots of new businesses creating jobs for residents.

All of this is helping position Peterborough as a desirable place to live, visit and do business, but equally important is making sure our city is clean, tidy and attractive.

This is why we launched our prevention and enforcement service in April, to tackle issues such as littering, flytipping, illegal parking and other forms of anti-social behaviour that impact on how the city looks and feels.

The new team sees council, police, fire and private sector staff working in one team, sharing powers and information. The idea is that together they can offer a quicker, more visible response to the issues that you have told us matter to you and impact on your quality of life.

Already the team is seeing some fantastic results and so far officers have dealt with 675 incidents of flytipping, evicted 12 unauthorised traveller encampments and tackled 315 cases of anti-social behaviour. They’ve also arranged the removal of 131 abandoned vehicles, cleared 264 rubbish accumulations and issued 2,103 parking penalty charge notices.

These figures are impressive and illustrate that by working together with our partners we are a stronger force.