Tackling fly-tipping head on

FlyTipping Poster

Published Tuesday, 18th May 2021

Reduction in fly tipping at 7 out of 10 target locations while enforcement officers investigate 160 cases at fly-tipping ‘hot spot’.

The ‘Let’s SCRAP fly tipping campaign’ appears to be having a positive impact on levels of fly tipping in the borough.  That’s the conclusion following evaluation of Phase 1 of the Council’s high profile education and awareness campaign that launched in October 2020.

Let’s SCRAP fly tipping aims to educate residents about:

  • The scale of the challenge - Sutton Council collects around 700 tonnes of fly tipped waste every year (that’s the same weight as Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue!); 

  • The different types of fly tips - from large-scale commercial fly-tips to donations left outside closed charity shops; 

  • The cost of dealing with the problem; 

  • And how to dispose of waste, particularly large items, responsibly. 

It’s one of a number of campaigns under the ‘Spick & Span Sutton’ banner that aims to boost civic pride in the area and keep the borough’s residential roads and high streets looking their best.  

Phase 1 of the Lets SCRAP fly tipping campaign targeted 10 known hot-spots across the borough. Temporary banners and signs were installed and ‘Council aware: fly tip under investigation’ stickers were attached to any fly tips found in these areas. This was all supported with a comprehensive social media campaign.

Visual monitoring of the ten target locations took place before, during and after the campaign and the number of fly tip reports submitted to the Council were analysed. The findings are encouraging: there was a significant reduction in fly tipping reports in seven out of the 10 target locations. Reports of fly tipping reduced by an impressive 84% in one location: Shotfield Car Park in Wallington South.

Whilst it is clear that education and awareness has an important role to play, it isn’t going to solve the problem on its own, and in some locations fly tipping continues despite concerted efforts to deter it. In these circumstances, the Council has made it clear that it will not hesitate to take enforcement action where appropriate and necessary. 

One such location is the Sainsbury’s car park in North Cheam. Despite clear signage, fly tipping had become a serious problem, particularly around the recycling banks, over the Christmas and New Year period. Sutton Council enforcement officers worked closely with the supermarket to review CCTV footage resulting in the investigation of over 160 fly tipping cases.

Formal notices have been served to the registered keepers of the vehicles involved. Investigations are ongoing, but to date, 25 Fixed Penalty Notices (of either £150 or £400) plus 60 warning letters have been issued. The most severe cases, including one resident visiting four times in a day to dispose of a disused bathroom, will result in prosecutions.

Councillor Manuel Abellan, Chair of the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee at Sutton Council, said: 

"Each year, large amounts of taxpayers’ money is spent clearing up fly tips from our streets; money we would rather spend on services for residents. 

"There is absolutely no excuse for fly tipping. We all need to take personal responsibility for our waste and ensure that it is disposed of properly. I’m determined to tackle the problem head on through awareness-raising wherever possible but also enforcement if necessary, targeted at the small minority of people who mistakenly seem to think that illegally dumping their waste is acceptable.

"I look forward to seeing the results of future phases of our ‘Let’s SCRAP fly tipping’ campaign and the continued efforts of our enforcement team.”

For more details on the Let’s SCRAP fly tipping campaign, visit www.sutton.gov.uk/flytipping.