Reporting fly tipping to be made easier
The Highland Council is set to make it easier for the public to report incidents of fly tipping and be advised when action is taken.
As part of an evaluation of its street cleaning service an in-depth LEAN review of how the council deals with fly tipping has been carried out to look at ways of improving responsiveness and customer satisfaction.
A number of improvements identified by staff are set to be introduced which will make it easier for the public to report fly tipping to the Council, provide quicker feedback to customers on actions taken and increase prevention and enforcement activities.
To achieve these customer focussed improvements, a new online form will be used by Waste Management officers to capture fly tipping cases that are reported informally by the public, community groups and other public bodies.
Once a case of fly tipping has been dealt with the customer who reported it will get an email receipt advising them that the fly tipping they reported has been resolved. Due to improvements in capturing the initial information, customers can expect a resolution within 10 working days.
New detailed and accurate ways of reporting data will be used to capture the true scale of fly tipping in the Highlands. The reports will include the type of material, response time and exact location which will be used to produce a map of fly tipping hot spots. This data will assist with implementing best practice for the prevention, reporting, investigation and clearance of fly-tipping.
Currently only a small percentage of fly tipping reports are investigated with the Council issuing 5 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for the illegal dumping of waste in 2017-18. Waste Management, Environmental Health and Housing staff will be able to engage in collaborative and a co-ordinated approach to target enforcement on the illegal deposit of waste on land as set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Chair of the Redesign Board and Convenor of The Highland Council, Councillor Bill Lobban said: “Our Lean reviews all show that improvements can be made by doing things differently. Often they can save on costs too. This review makes it easier to report fly-tipping, know what we are doing about it and how we can prevent it by being more aware of hot spots and enforcement opportunities for us.
“Illegal dumping happens in both rural and urban areas and clearing it up costs Scottish local authorities more than £2.5 million each year. Not only is fly tipping an offence but there is no excuse for it anywhere in our region as the Council provides 21 recycling centres across the Highlands and offers a bulky uplift service. At the end of the day, it is Highland Council Tax payers who are bearing the cost of the Council having to clean up and send our staff to investigate and that is money spent that could be used elsewhere by the Council.
"I urge everyone to use the waste collection services the local authority offers and to dispose of unwanted items responsibly.”
Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee added: “As well as been a crime, fly tipping can have serious environmental consequences and certainly spoils the look of an area. This is why the Council works closely with SEPA and Police Scotland to raise awareness of all the implications so I’m glad to see that the LEAN review has highlighted the need for more of this work. The improvements in capturing and mapping data as a result of this review will also help us target resources where they are needed most.
“Local communities can help us too. If anyone sees fly tipping in their area, we would urge them to report it to us, the Police or SEPA at the time or as soon as possible, along with any descriptions of people or vehicles used.”
You can report incidents of fly tipping to the council on-line by visiting www.highland.gov.uk