Brent Council says fly-tipping dropped in Covid-19 pandemic

A “beefed up” enforcement strategy and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a reduction in fly-tipping reports in Brent over the past year.

Brent Council officers told a resources and public realm scrutiny committee yesterday (Monday, May 10) there were around 31,000 fly-tipping complaints made between April 2020 and April 2021.

According to Chris Whyte, operational director of environmental and employment services at Brent Council, this was around 3,000 fewer than the same period 12 months earlier.

He acknowledged the impact the Covid-19 pandemic will have had on these statistics but pointed to an improved approach to enforcement as another reason for the decrease.

“Since the contract [with Veolia] started in 2014, it’s fair to say that fly-tipping numbers have increased across the borough but what we found during the pandemic was that they actually reduced,” he said.

“I guess that’s more about people and businesses not being active, and some of those problems associated with a busy and congested Brent didn’t play out.”

He added since the last scrutiny report on this issue, the council has “beefed up” its enforcement by investing in neighbourhood patrol teams which can issue fixed penalty notices to offenders.

Mr Whyte said the council’s ‘wanted’ poster campaign, which sought to name and shame fly-tippers while also acting as a deterrent in hot-spot areas, was an example of its changing approach.

He also noted the increased use of “nimble and flexible” CCTV cameras, which can be moved around and concealed easily to help catch those illegally dumping rubbish.

Despite this, there have been some high-profile cases of fly-tipping in the borough – such as at the Welsh Harp reservoir – and officers appreciate there is always room to improve.

Mr Whyte said there is a need to continue to educate communities on the impact of littering and fly-tipping and the consequences they can face if they are caught doing so.

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