Making Sutton London's most sustainable borough

Published Friday, 21st May 2021

Councillor Manuel Abellan's Sutton Scene column, Friday 21 May 2021.

Like most residents, I am proud of Sutton’s well-earned reputation as one of the greenest boroughs in London. Our ambition for the future is clear. We want to be London’s most sustainable borough!  

Each year, Sutton Council collects around 700 tonnes of fly tipped waste (that’s the same weight as Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue). I would rather see the large amounts of council tax payers’ money spent clearing up fly tips from our streets spent on other services for residents. 

That’s why last October Sutton launched its ‘Let’s SCRAP fly tipping campaign’. As part of the campaign the Council 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. Council officers also monitored the sites before, during and after the campaign and the number of fly tip reports submitted to the Council were analysed. 

So far the findings are very encouraging. There was a significant reduction in fly tipping reports in seven out of the 10 target locations and reports of fly tipping reduced by an impressive 84% at one location: Shotfield Car Park in Wallington South! 

Education and awareness has an important role to play but we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where appropriate and necessary. 

One example of this is Sainsbury’s car park in North Cheam where 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.

There is absolutely no excuse for fly tipping and we are determined to tackle the problem head on. We will keep residents informed as we progress to the next phases of the ‘Let’s SCRAP fly tipping’ campaign in Sutton.