Trips to a tip are not listed under central government reasons for essential travel, so Dorset Council has had to temporarily close them. Opening them for any amount of time would contravene public health advice that the local authority is obligated to comply with.
Early fly-tipping figures from late March and early April have not shown a significant year-on-year increase, but officers are hesitant to read too much into this data as reporting is likely to be impacted by fewer people travelling around the county and spotting fly-tips as they isolate at home.
To help the council fight against fly-tipping, the waste service’s Enforcement Team – who are continuing to operate at this time – have asked for residents to note the following:
Fly-tips can be reported to the Council online and by phone. The council will investigate all reported incidents and, where there is enough evidence, attempt to trace and prosecute those responsible
Rubbish you’ve handed to someone else is still your legal responsibility until it is correctly disposed of. If someone – such as an unlicensed ‘man in a van’ found on social media – were to fly-tip that waste, you could end up paying a fine or being taken to court.
Fly-tipping is a criminal offence, punishable by fines of up to £50,000 – or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrate’s Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court.
Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, said, “Now more than ever, we need people to keep us informed when they spot fly-tips. We know the temporary closure of household recycling centres is likely to cause a rise in fly-tipping, so we’re keeping a close eye on the situation, reviewing central government guidance and planning every day so we can re-open the HRCs at the earliest opportunity.
“But there are no excuses for fly-tipping. It’s unsightly and damaging to the environment. We all have a part to play in stopping this anti-social behaviour and by working together I know we can make a positive impact.
“It’s also worth noting that Dorset Police are still out on the roads at this time checking where people are travelling to and may have some questions if they look in a vehicle and find waste that would typically be dropped at an HRC.”
Dorset residents can find out more by visiting the Tip Off webpage. Fly-tipping incidents can be reported online or by calling 01305 221040.
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