Dumpsters dumping rubbish in Hull cost taxpayers more than half a million pounds last year – enough to put 17 more police officers on our streets.
Exclusive figures obtained through Freedom of Information show the number of fly-spilling incidents more than doubled in the 12 months to March 2022, with officers recording 19,105 incidents, up from 9,490 during of the previous year. While the spike was mainly due to the council sending more waste disposal officers onto the streets, they said crime remained “a blight on our town”.
Some 955 tonnes of waste were removed in 2021/22, roughly the weight of 150 elephants. The overall cost of disposing of waste dumped illegally by other people at this time was £528,000, figures show.
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Since April 2017, a total of £1.95million has had to be spent cleaning up household waste, furniture, appliances and other miscellaneous types of waste dumped on streets, car parks and roadsides. Hull City Council said that since 2019 it has been sending waste disposal officers to actively monitor so-called “problem areas”, which could be the reason for the sharp increase in reports.
The figures do not take into account the number of incidents reported twice, such as multiple residents reporting the same litter or reporting something that may have already been found and disposed of by officers.
“The bottom line is that fly-tipping is a blight on our shared space,” said Doug Sharp, the council’s street cleaning manager. “We all share this town. Dumping trash on your neighbors’ doorsteps is simply grossly offensive and anti-social behavior.”
“We currently have 12 employees in six teams of two who will patrol an area and remove anything they find,” he added. “They will also check evidence, such as addressed letters.”
The vast majority of trash dumped illegally, Doug said, was regular household trash that would otherwise be thrown in trash cans. This included people letting their bins overflow.
“We go to certain streets in Hull every day – it’s so common.” He added that there was also a correlation in areas with high rates of fly tipping and low rates of ownership.
“If you go to a place like a social housing estate where more people have been able to buy their homes, there will be fewer. That comes down to pride. But if you’re on a street that’s almost entirely owner-owned, management waste will not be a priority for the inhabitants.”
And with house prices now higher than they have been in history, Doug said he couldn’t imagine that would solve the problem. Fly dumping is a criminal offense and Hull City Council has prosecuted many people in recent years who have been caught unawares.
Often, Doug said, the authority’s team of 12 waste disposal officers will search piles of trash for evidence that could lead to the offender, such as letters with names and addresses. In June last year, a London woman was fined up to £400 after she left the capital to dump bags of rubbish on De Gray Street, west of Hull.
CCTV of various offenders caught in the act was released in March, with footage showing a cheeky woman rolling bags of rubbish into a pram before dumping them on Wheeler Street. “Most people are law-abiding citizens,” Doug said.
“It’s much more likely that those people willing to act in this way are the most difficult proportion of people in society to influence and change their behavior, unfortunately.” Residents can still report fly tipping through the council’s website.