Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services, shares his opinion on preventing the rise of fly-tipping during lockdown and beyond.
Staying home these last eight weeks may have given residents the opportunity to think about their garden and home makeovers, but where is some of this makeover waste going? Whilst the vast majority of residents have behaved responsibly and not dumped their waste during the coronavirus outbreak, some people have not done the right thing. As a result, a lot of waste has made its way onto the streets, roads, alley-ways and pavements of Thanet. In April 2019, there were 199 reported fly-tips compared to April 2020 which saw 304.
Here are some of the recent fly-tips cleared up by the council’s hard-working cleansing teams:
Residents can report fly-tipping using this online form.
As Cabinet Member for Operational Services, I am asking people to try and limit spring cleaning and to try and reduce the amount of waste your household produces.
There’s nothing wrong with a spring makeover while you have the time to do it. However, it’s what you then do with the extra waste which is vitally important. Fly-tipping is illegal and can lead to a £400 fixed penalty notice or a criminal prosecution. Investigating and then clearing fly-tips cost the council £175,000 last year and this diverts resources away from keeping the rest of the district clean, including emptying litter bins, which we know is something that people really care about.”
For those who are unsure how to dispose of waste responsibly and want to avoid hefty fines and court cases, the council has the following tips:
- Use a registered kerbside collection service and keep a dated record of use
- Only use a licenced waste carrier and do a quick check on the Environment Agency website www.GOV.UK to find a licenced waste carrier. A legitimate waste operator will be happy to show you their licence. Be suspicious and wary of anyone who will only take cash payments or who advertises on social media sites
- Book bulky waste collection – a council run service – by calling 01843 577115 https://www.thanet.gov.uk/online-services/bulky-waste-collection/
- On Friday 15 May, Kent County Council is reopening the Household Waste and Recycling Centres in Margate. This will only be accessible to those who have a pre-booked appointment, made online or over the phone. Find out about how to book a slot on KCC’s website.
- Check which local charities will collect items that can be reused, upcycled and resold. British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk, British Red Cross www.redcross.org.uk, Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org and Shelter www.england.shelter.org.uk.
As the weather improves, those who are lucky enough to have a garden will spend more time outside. The Royal Horticultural Society has given the following advice:
- Use a compost bin, make a compost heap from plant materials and kitchen waste that won’t attract rats
- Avoid bonfires
- Bury soft garden waste when digging over empty plots
- Leave woody prunings in a safe, neat pile out the way in your garden for wildlife to use
- Use grass cutting to mulch around trees and plants, or cut short and leave clippings to disappear back into the grass.
If you have the space, you could let a mini meadow grow, and sit back and watch the wildlife enjoy your garden. You can even make a record of the visiting wildlife. For those of you with children at home, you could try and make or buy a wormery. As part of a renewed interest in composting, we have identified a supplier that sells composters and is offering their product to residents at a discount. If you are interested in how you can compost your food and garden waste, you can learn more here.
We are here to help, advise and support residents, so if you have any questions, please email the team on SSE@thanet.gov.uk.