New team of anti-litter heroes launched alongside new drive to tackle fly-tipping in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council is launching a campaign to celebrate community litter heroes alongside work to tackle an increase in fly-tipping.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 6:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 12:37 pm
Pupils from Warkworth C of E Primary School, who recently won a Love Northumberland Award for their environmental efforts, helped launch this year’s campaign. They are pictured with local ward councillor Jeff Watson, head of neighbourhood services Greg Gavin and Coun Glen Sanderson.

The authority says it is using ‘a combination of education, engagement and enforcement’ to clamp down on fly-tippers.

At the same time, it is encouraging residents to play their part in keeping the county clean and green, while recognising those who go ‘above and beyond to help keep Northumberland clean and tidy’.

In the last six months, the number of recorded fly-tips has increased, mainly due to some hot-spot urban areas in the south east of the county.

As the rise is predominantly focused in two residential areas, the council will be deploying its resources there to tackle this growing problem.

The authority says that while part of the rise is due to improvements in recording methods and street-cleansing arrangements, ‘the activity of a small minority is causing a growing concern’.

Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for the environment and local services, said: “We have more enforcement officers and more front-line clean-up staff to remove rubbish quickly and to try to tackle the people who are causing the problem. Despite this, fly-tipping in some areas is still increasing.

“Almost all this is down to household waste being dumped in back alleys or on the road or pavement, so we will work with the communities where the hotspots are to enlist their support in tackling the minority of individuals who blight their neighbourhoods to ensure they are clear this is totally unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.”

People found fly-tipping can face an on-the-spot fine of £400 or up to £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment if convicted in a magistrates’ court.

Meanwhile, clearing up litter costs the council around £2.6million each year – which could be spent on other key services.

This year’s campaign will be promoted on the backs of buses, as well as on bin wagons and posters, reminding residents not to drop rubbish and ‘love their county’.

Clean-ups will be taking place and the impact of litter and rubbish to humans and animals will be highlighted.

The council will also continue to take enforcement action where they have evidence of littering; so far this year, nearly 90 people have been fined or prosecuted for dropping litter.

Coun Sanderson said: “We know people have a great deal of pride in our county and most people never drop litter, but it’s such a shame that a small minority think it’s acceptable.

“We hope this campaign will act as a gentle reminder to everyone to play their part in keeping the county green and clean.”

Last month, Labour highlighted Government figures which they say ‘reveal fly-tipping in Northumberland is at an all-time high’.

Coun Brian Gallacher, Labour’s shadow cabinet member for the environment and local services, said: “People in Northumberland are sick of seeing their beautiful county turned into a rubbish dump.”

But the Tory leadership dismissed their claims, saying that it takes the issue very seriously, has not reduced resources and is working to tackle it ‘in the isolated areas where there have been increases’.