Fly-tipped rubbish is costly and unsightly, but Magenta Living is working with its communities to tackle the problem. The organisation is keen to share what it has learned, writes Maureen Davies
FLY-TIPPING once again hit the headlines in early May when Local Government Association (LGA) analysis revealed that incidents have risen by nearly 40% in the past five years.
The LGA wants the Government’s next spending review to ensure adequate funding to enable councils to investigate incidents and ensure fly-tippers are punished. It also asserts that, “consistent and hard-hitting prosecutions are needed to deter rogue operators and fly-tippers”.
It’s clear that change is needed if we’re to win the war on fly-tipping but is there anything that can help to tackle this blight beyond increased funding and a harsher punitive regime?
The sharing of best practice certainly has the potential to improve matters and it’s why, at Magenta Living, we’re keen to spread word about the success of our fly-tipping approach.
In a bid to make sure Magenta Living neighbourhoods are cleaner, greener and safer places for all to enjoy, we’ve focused our efforts on fly-tipping hot-spots using a combination of prevention campaigns aimed at stopping fly-tipping from happening in the first place, introduced new methods to help track down culprits, supported prosecutions and ensured the prompt removal of waste.
The most innovative element of the Magenta Living fly-tipping approach is our Trash Tracker team`s crime scene investigation (CSI) technique at incident sites.
Dressed in white, forensic-like suits, Trash Tracker officers visit fly tipping incidents, cordon them off as environmental crime scenes and look to obtain any information that can be used to track down offenders and as evidence for sharing with the local authority. Real time flyers are then produced and shared door-to-door to seek further information and provide advice on the correct disposal of waste, highlighting the consequences of illegal dumping.
Education and awareness have an important role to play and we work hard to make sure Magenta Living residents understand how they can call upon subsidised services like BERT (Bulky Environmental Refuse Team) to help manage waste.
We’ve also worked closely with Wirral Council’s Environmental Enforcement team at pop-up awareness events designed to provide people with better awareness of where and how they can dispose of waste. Even offering simple advice regarding how to source additional bins and bigger bins can help.
Having established what methods are most effective at reducing fly-tipping incidences in our neighbourhoods, we’ve been keen to share what we’ve learned with our peers and recently presented to the HouseMark Estate Service Club, placing a spotlight on the Trash Tracker initiative. We’ve also been approached by fellow housing associations with regards to outsourcing our service.
We know from experience that dealing with fly-tipping is a hugely costly business both in terms of human and financial resource. Last year our team removed 180 tonnes of waste from across our neighbourhoods, reducing this and disincentivising people to fly-tip in the first place through initiatives like Trash Tracker, is in everyone’s interests.
Money spent on cleaning up could be invested elsewhere, helping us to deliver Magenta Living’s vision of ‘Vibrant … homes, lives, neighbourhoods’. We want to help create a shared sense of pride in communities and keeping them clean and waste free is a major part of this.
Partnership working with our communities is key if we are going to stop fly-tippers, as is sharing resources and intelligence with local authorities. By promoting best practice, we hope to help turn the fly-tipping tide, winning the war against illegal rubbish dumping one neighbourhood at a time.
Maureen Davies is environmental services manager at Magenta Living