There have been calls for more fly-tippers to be prosecuted as Lincolnshire County Council continues to deny a rise in incidents is caused by Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) issues.
Councillors discussing the latest performance of services under the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership, also called on courts to take the issue more seriously.
Boston Councillor Deborah Evans was adamant the two-day closure of the HWRCs and disruption at the facilities was compounding the fly-tipping issue.
She invited members on a walk-about saying “I can show you quite a few answers to some of the issues which are really on the ground”.
She pointed to an upcoming meeting between Frampton Parish Council and Councillor Danny McNally, LCC’s executive portfolio holder for waste.
“They absolutely believe that all the fly-tipping happening around that area is because of the tip being closed or turning away people who have taken household waste, gone back a second week and been turned away again and the third week again.”
She said she had spoken to Boston’s 115-strong litter-picking Wombles group and employees on the ground.
“They have told me that they see it gets tipped, and it gets tipped several times, because people are turned away in cars full of garden waste… or because the queues are so long and people can’t wait anymore.”
“Unfortunately, people feel like they’re protesting especially if they’ve been a couple of times they don’t feel like they’re breaking the law,” she added.
“They think they’ve done everything… so there is an element of a new form of protest.”
Lincolnshire County Council’s Waste Services Lead Mike Reed, however, said there was no evidence to suggest the link between the HWRC’s and fly-tipping.
He said there had been a rise nationally, and that most of the fly-tipping was done by “commercial” people, many of which advertised on Facebook, often without a licence.
He said fly-tipping was breaking the law, and should be reported.
“You don’t go to a shop that’s closed and just help yourself, just smash a window and help yourself to the goods anyway. You go away, you organise yourself to be there at an appropriate time,” he said.
North Kesteven Councillor Richard Wright said the idea that fly-tipping was a protest was. “absolutely disgraceful”.
“I cannot understand how we can even contemplate tolerating a situation where we’ve got people that allegedly don’t think they’re breaking the law because ‘they’ve tried the best to put something in recycling centre but it was shut so I dumped it in the British countryside or on the streets where my residents live’.
“I think that’s absolutely disgraceful attitude of the public and it’s not something that we should even tolerate.”
He said more people should be prosecuted for carrying out fly-tipping, pointing to several incidents in his own district where that had happened.
He was backed by South Kesteven Councillor Mark Whittington who said the courts needed to take more action.
“Unfortunately, the courts don’t seem to take it as quite seriously as local authorities because some of the penalties that got issued were fairly small fines and community service, which probably doesn’t go anywhere close towards, you know, being a proper sort of payback for the crime.”
At the same meeting, councillors voted not to reduce targets as requested by officers with one councillor asking what the point would be in having a goal they knew was achievable.
Reports before the authority’s Lincolnshire Waste Partnership next Monday show that from 2019/20 overall recycling rates across both tips and kerbside collections dropped from 45.4% to 41.5% in 2021/22.
This is despite the authority having a target of 48% by the most recent year. For 2022/23 the target was 50% – around 1,075kg of waste per household.
North Kesteven Councillor Mervyn Head asked: “What’s the point of having a target that you know you’re going to achieve, rather than having a target that you’re going to aspire to? If you miss it by a couple of percent or whatever? Does that really matter?”