£300,000 spent clearing fly-tipping in 12 months but council only reclaims £3,500 in prosecutions fines

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MORE than £300,000 is spent clearing up illegally dumped rubbish across Northampton a year...but only £3,500 is claimed back in successful prosecutions, new figures have revealed.

Northampton Borough Council dealt with 7,230 instances of fly-tipping between April 2010 and March 2011, one of the highest figures recorded in the country.

In contrast South Northamptonshire District Council dealt with just 374 incidents.

The Countryside Alliance compiled the fly-tipping report to highlight the scale of illegal rubbish dumping with data from 81 per cent of local authorities in Britain.

On top of the £319,199 spent on disposing of the waste, a further £138,681 was ploughed into prevention work, including patrolling hot-spots, by the borough.

But just £3,517 was claimed back in fines following 18 successful prosecutions in the town.

Councillor David Mackintosh, cabinet adviser at Northampton Borough Council, said: “Fly tipping is a national problem and we don’t believe it is any worse in Northampton than anywhere else.

“But it’s clear that fly-tipping is unacceptable and more than that, it is a crime, it is dangerous and it destroys our local environment.”

He added that environmental crime officers investigate wherever it is possible but the nature of the crime makes it difficult to gather evidence for prosecution.

Northampton Borough Councillor Penny Flavell (Con, Rushmills), who has dealt with on-going issues of fly-tipping in the Mounts, said: “I think the fly-tipping that goes on is absolutely disgraceful.

“The council is trying hard to crack down on it but it would be good to see more prosecutions, people are totally fed up of it.”

South Northamptonshire Council spent less than one per cent on clearing up and preventing fly-tipping than its neighbouring borough council.

A spokeswoman for South Northants said positive figures were largely down to the lack of social deprivation in the rural area, which is often linked to fly-tipping. She added that a swift reaction from its environment team in dealing with incidents and vigilant reporting by residents helped to keep the illegal dumping to a minimum and stop repeat offences.

She said: “The low figures are a testament to our waste services team and we will continue to deal with it efficiently.”