Call for secret cameras to catch fly-tippers in Southend

Secret cameras should be installed to catch fly-tippers who are blighting Southend, councillors have said.

Southend City Council is set to appoint a contractor to enforce penalties for fly-tipping, littering and dog fouling after it was revealed not a single fixed penalty notice had been issued in the city.

The move follows a motion by Colin Campbell asking the council to crack down on fly-tippers.

The motion was discussed at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

John Lamb, councillor responsible for regulatory services, said: “In our ward there are a number of places that are really bad for fly-tipping. If you take Two Tree Island in Leigh, it’s one where they go out and find the amenity site is closed so they go off down to Two Tree Island and dump whatever they’ve got.

“It would be useful to get some cameras. I know we do secret cameras that we could put around and make sure we capture some of the people doing it and prosecute as high as we can.”

Cllr Lamb also suggested the council’s traffic spy car could be used.

Stephen Aylen, non-aligned councillor for Belfairs ward called for “60 secret rock cameras” purchased some years ago to be utilised, but he revealed it is unclear where they currently are and said they could have been discarded.

In response, James Courtney, councillor responsible for community safety, said: “The last thing we want to do is issue fixed penalty notices and prosecute people. We want to do informal action but we’ve tried that and it’s failed.

“I sympathise with the use of the camera car but my concern is it’s probably not legal but also those resources are being used somewhere else and the last thing I want to do is take them away to tackle flytipping. However, we are going to have a private contractor who is going to be incentivised to tackle flytipping.”

Meg Davidson, council responsible for the environment, added: “The motion highlights a longstanding problem which concerns residents very much. Flytipping and litter is probably in the top three issues that bug our residents.

“Although plenty of work has been done on sending letters and the education side, it is clear that to issue zero fixed penalty notices we have perhaps been lacking in enforcement.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter