Fly-tipping down and recycling up in Northampton says cabinet member

Councillor Mike Hallam said numbers of fly-tipping incidents were reducing
Councillor Mike Hallam said numbers of fly-tipping incidents were reducing

Fly-tipping has dropped by 10 per cent across Northampton while recycling is up by roughly the same amount, councillors were told this week.

More than 18,000 fly-tipping incidents were reported to the Guildhall from 2017 to 2018, with the council taking action against 1,066 incidents.

But Councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for the environment, said that those numbers had gone down according to the latest available figures, whilst recycling had also gone up.

Speaking to members of the borough council’s scrutiny committee on Monday evening (February 4), Councillor Hallam said: “Recycling is up and fly-tipping is down. Fly-tipping has dropped by 10 per cent, although I appreciate there are still bad patches out there. But recycling is up by pretty much the same amount [10 per cent], especially in areas where have rolled out the new wheelie bins.”

But Labour councillor Gareth Eales responded on Twitter that ‘the figures may well be down, but it’s still an epidemic’, while community group Northampton’s Rubbish said the issue was still ‘rife’ in places such as The Mounts.

Councillor Hallam said that a three month trial in reducing the bulky waste removal charge, from £25 to £15, was also currently underway to examine what affect it may have.

He said: “We thought we would put it to the test. We couldn’t play with the numbers before in the previous contract. It’s a £2.5k cost which we will fund through sponsorship or from our own fixed penalty notices. We will look at the end of month three and see whether we revert back to £25, or if it’s worked, continuing with it.”

But speaking at the meeting, member of the committee Councillor Terrie Eales said: “It was not the charge that put me off using the bulky waste service, it was the long wait. Some people might not be inclined to wait.”

Councillor Hallam said he would be looking at improvements to the online service, saying: “It does seem strange that we can book a hotel room on the other side of the world within three clicks, but not sort out the bulky waste. We do need to change that.”

Conservative councillor Alan Bottwood questioned if there was ‘anything that could be done’ about tips that were closed for two days a week.

Councillor Hallam responded: “I did ask for them to change the opening hours to open earlier. I went early one morning after a spring clean and the queue to get in was starting to cause problems on the main road. If it was me in charge of that I would be opening at 8am instead of 10am, and shutting earlier. But I was told there was no flexibility on that.”

He was also keen to impress on the benefits that recycling had for both the environment, but also for the council coffers.

Improved recycling rates bring in additional income from recycling credits, with the council targeting an extra £15k of additional income from further improvement in the recycling levels.