Brentwood needs £70,000 a year flytipping team after incidents double in two years

Brentwood Council is looking to set up a fly-tipping “response team” costing £70,000 annually after a doubling of incidents over the past two years.

From 2012 to 2021 the number of fly-tips over the borough had remained fairly constant, with approximately 600 fly-tips per year.

However, in the last two years, the borough has experienced a two-fold increase in the number of fly-tips – from 687 to 1,359.

There were 462 in 2019/20, 585 in 2020/21, 687 in 2021/22,  1,069 in 2022/23 and 1,359 to date in this finance year.

The additional annual £70,000 cost required to fund the recruitment of the two additional staff dedicated to undertake fly-tipping clearance will have to be met by cutting costs from other areas, the council has said.

Best practice suggests that a typical fly-tip should be cleared within two working days. In Brentwood the average time taken to clear fly tips from April 2023 to October 2023 has been more like 20 days.

The majority of the proposed resource would in all probability be focused within Warley, and Brizes & Doddinghurst, with these two wards representing almost half of recorded flytips between April and October this year.

A statement as part of discussion papers in front of the Clean & Green Committee set to debate the plans on December 11, said: “An additional annual £70,000 revenue budget will be required to fund the recruitment of the two staff. This budgetary pressure cannot be accommodated in the existing budget allocation, and consideration will be required within budget setting cycle of the medium term strategy against other competing financial priorities.”

The county council has said there is not a link between the system it introduced in March 2023 requiring residents to book a slot at recycling centres and the uptick in flytipping incidents.

Essex County Council previously said: “We are committed to working with councils, the environment agency and other enforcement bodies in Essex to ensure the appropriate investigations and action is taken against those that choose to fly-tip.

“Throughout the initial pilot of bookings for large vehicles and for all vehicles using Rayleigh Recycling Centre, we received no reports of increased fly-tipping incidents in the county linked to the booking trial.

“National studies carried out by DEFRA last year also did not identify any link between booking systems and fly-tipping.”

Essex County Council, which is evaluating 18,000 responses to its consultation on whether to keep the booking process at all its recycling centres permanently, says the booking process will remain in place until a final decision is made in 2024.

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter