Basildon Council to hire private firm in crackdown on litterbugs and fly-tippers

A BASILDON councillor has called fly-tippers ‘a disgrace to the borough’, as the authority approved plans to hire a private enforcement company to crack down on littering and fly-tipping.

Cllr David Harrison, chairman of the council’s Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, said those who left furniture and other items in the street should be ‘targeted’.

He said: “We’ve got to target them, irrespective of whose wards they are or whatever. They’ve got to be targeted because they’re a disgrace to the borough, to be quite honest… Action has got to be taken.”

Labour councillor Andrew Ansell added: “I’m really, really pleased that this council is looking to send a real strong message, which is: Watch out fly-tippers. We’re coming after you.”

The committee agreed last week to hire National Enforcement Solutions to carry out ‘litter and fly-tipping enforcement’ outside of the hours when the council’s own officers are at work.

The company approached the council and offered to carry out a year-long trial for free.

At the of that year, the council will review the company’s work and decide whether to hire them ‘on an ongoing basis, subject to a relevant tender exercise’.

A council report warned that whilst the year-long trial was being offered for free, the anticipated increase in the number of offences detected would likely cost the authority an extra £30,000 in prosecution fees.

Asking councillors to back the plan, Cllr Harrison told last week’s committee meeting: “We as an administration – and I think the whole of the council – we need to step up, because there’s a lot of fly-tipping still taking place, there’s a lot of littering still taking place, and we need to take some action.

“I’ve sat in here recently and did two activities where we had the Wickford Brownies and the Kingswood Cubs, which was only this week.

“When the youngsters there, all the time, were talking about and complaining about people dropping litter and talking about the environment, the onus is on us to try and do something about it.

“This is why the suggestion is, I and Mr Brace [the council’s assistant director] have met with National Enforcement Solutions to go through with them how they would operate.

“They’re operating elsewhere and we looked at them. We would like to give the offer of a 12-month trial in the borough to target fly-tipping, littering, et cetera.”

Labour council leader Gavin Callaghan said the firm would not act like some others, who dress up like police officers and issue on-the-spot fines to people who drop cigarette butts.

He said: “Firstly, they will act as a deterrent. But secondly, they will help us to collect data about where the dumping and enforceable problems are within the borough, so we can get a far more accurate picture of what’s happening on the ground.

“One of the things that’s frustrating is that when you talk to people from the worst affected areas, they say to us, ‘If you could only come and walk around the estate, you would see’.

“But our officers work really hard and they don’t necessarily have time to go and walk around 10 of 15 estates every week to see what’s going on.

“This company will be able to do that and provide us with real-time data, so we can track the problems.

“When we talk to groups in the affected areas, they all say to us that they Cllr David Harrison said fly-tippers were ‘a disgrace to the borough’ want us to enforce more. They want us to fine people and get serious about enforcement against people who dump rubbish in their streets.”

Cllr Callaghan said the year-long trial would begin early in the new year.

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Charles Thomson

Chief ReporterEmail: [email protected]