The actions of fly-tippers responsible for dumping everything from asbestos to car parts and chemicals in public places have cost the taxpayer thousands to clean up – but only one has been prosecuted in the past decade.
There were more than 150 reports of fly-tipping to the States last year – 105 of which were through the Love Jersey app - and there are 45 ongoing investigations, according to figures released by the Environment Department.
But this was a tiny fraction in comparison to the Parish of St Helier, which saw more than 14,000. Other parishes are yet to collate their figures.
The Environment Department said that the north coast and field entrances in quiet country lanes were particular “hotspots” for the illegal dumping. Recycling banks were also dubbed a high risk zone, as “when the banks are full, people leave their donated items next to the bank… it encourages other people to fly-tip.”
Over 14,000 cases of fly tipping in @StHelierJsy alone in 2017, this washing machine was recently dumped at Belcroute. Please report any incidents so this blight on our beautiful island can be stamped out. pic.twitter.com/jZ7XHG4ROd— Honorary Police (@Honorary_Police) January 30, 2018
Such incidents – the majority of which involved household waste or vehicle parts – are costing taxpayers thousands.
Over the past two years, the Environmental Protection Department alone spent £4,674 on sampling or collecting fly-tipped hazardous waste to protect human health and the environment. In January last year, £5,000 was spent on a specialist clean-up of nine bin bags full of asbestos in a field near Maufant. The illegal dumping of the known carcinogen had to be dealt with using licensed contractors and a protective tent-style enclosure to contain the hazard.
The cases may be detrimental to the public pocket, but Environmental Protection say that it’s difficult to hold fly-tippers to account.
“It’s not simple or straightforward to track offenders down. The 2017 EP figures show that we have located culprits in 11 of the 50 incidents reported directly to us so we have a hit rate of just over 20 per cent. In the UK the reported successful prosecution rate is one in 650 cases,” they explained in a statement.
Pictured: Illegally dumped asbestos in Maufant cost the taxpayer around £5,000 to deal with last year.
Those who do get caught could be prosecuted under the Waste Management Law, but only one person has been successfully taken to task under the law since it was introduced more than a decade ago.
That’s because Environmental Protection try to avoid arrests in favour of advising and educating – they only resort to arrest when it’s “the only option”, during which time they work with Police to investigate and prepare a case.
Over the past three years, the favoured method has been sending warning letters (12), advice letters (12) or giving verbal advice (12).
The ‘fly-tipping task force’ – a joint States and Parish initiative – continue to tackle the unsightly crime, but Environmental Protection are now making a special appeal to islanders to give up the bad habit.
Pictured: The States say they try and avoid getting the Police involved where possible, but prefer to "advise and educate."
Richard Runacres, the States’ Waste and Water Management and Regulation Officer, commented: “The impact of fly-tipping creeps up on us – a few sacks of rubbish here, an old fridge there, but it quickly becomes a blot on the landscape and spoils our beautiful Island.
“We’re appealing to people to help because we can’t tackle this on our own. Could you make a few simple checks to ensure the rubbish removal firm you’ve employed is taking your waste it to La Collette, not tipping it in a field? If you notice fly-tipped waste – could you take that a step further and report the details?”
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