CCTV ‘the next big thing’ to try to tackle Northampton’s fly-tipping problems
The council is turning to CCTV in its next big bid to curb fly-tipping in Northampton after admitting the issue ‘continues to be a problem’ that blights the town.
Although the percentage of fly-tipping incidents removed within two working days is down overall on 2018/19, previously promising figures have plummeted in recent months during what the authority describes as the ‘busiest’ quarter for fly-tipping of the year.
Now Councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for the environment at Northampton Borough Council, says that the addition of CCTV cameras will help when it comes to enforcement.
At an overview and scrutiny meeting last night (September 30), he said: “We’ve been trialling a new CCTV system for enforcement. It has a really long battery life so it doesn’t need to be plugged up to the mains. We haven’t used them to gather evidence yet, but the cameras will go live in undisclosed locations this week. The really great thing about CCTV is that it is scalable, as the cameras cost about £400 and that’s not far off the fine people get for fly-tipping. So the more enforcement you get the more cameras you can potentially get across the borough.”
In February it was reported that fly-tipping had reduced by 10 per cent and a month later the borough council comfortably exceeded its 90 per cent target of removing rubbish within two days of being notified. But the percentage dropped to 68.2 per cent during the next month and currently stands at 68 per cent overall for the year.
There were 5,000 reported incidents of fly-tips in the busy quarter from April to June, and the council admits that fly-tipping ‘continues to be a problem’ with increased incidents adding more pressure to the service. Dealing with the issue across the county costs taxpayers over £750,000 every year.
The borough council has trialled lowering the cost of the bulky collections fee from £25 to £15, but Councillor Hallam admitted it had not had the intended impact. Now the turn to CCTV is being touted as the next step to try and tackle the problem.
Councillor Hallam added: “I thought we were going well, and then we hit the busy quarter and it just shot all the previous figures to pieces for the year.
“We thought the bulky waste charge trial in April might have a positive effect on fly-tipping, but then we saw some of the highest fly-tipping figures we’ve had. So the school of thought is that the people who are fly-tipping are not the kind of people who are ever going to call the council to have items removed, these are people who are very blase about it. But the amount of slots now available is still a good thing to come from the trial.
“But there’s lots of things we need to do, and CCTV is the next big thing we are looking at.”