West Lothian cemeteries have become the new target for fly-tippers, it has been reported.
The council’s Neighbourhood Environment Teams have been using recently acquired mobile cameras on council grounds to try and trap tippers.
David Lees from the NETs team revealed that cemeteries had become targets for tippers when revealing the latest fly-tipping figures to a meeting of Livingston South Local Area Committee.
He said mobile cameras have now had software updates and will be rolled out to known hot spots across the county.
One councillor asked why Fixed Penalty Notices hadn’t been issued in the ward in the last two years
Fly-tipping clear up across West Lothian cost the council £32,390 in the last three months of 2023. This was up from £30,613 in the same period of 2022.
The figures for the last three months of 2023 coincide with the change in hours at the recycling centres.
Widespread public belief was that the alterations to hours would see an immediate surge in fly-tipping but it hasn’t.
dCouncillor Moira McKee-Shemilt said: “Many constituents think there’s a direct correlation between the increase in fly-tipping and the changes to the recycling centres”.
Mr Lees said the change in the figures over last year was minimal, but added: “It is something we are keeping an eye on”.
A report to the committee showed that there had been 143 reports of fly-tipping in the last three months of 2023, compared with 115 for the same period in 2022. However the county wide- across all nine council wards- tonnage of fly-tipped waste lifted was 66.34, only marginally up on the 66 tons lifted in the last three months of 2022.
Depute Provost Councillor Peter Heggie asked why there were no Fixed Penalty Notices issued for fly-tipping or for the same period the previous year.
“Why don’t we have any at all?”.
Mr Lees replied: “The Fixed Penalty Notices come down to the evidence we find within the fly-tipping. We need two pieces of evidence and unless we’ve got evidence of them actually dumping it as well and details in it, we’re unable to issue a Fixed Penalty.
“In a lot of cases they’re making sure that there’s nothing with any details that we can follow up.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re using mobile CCTV cameras and we’ve just had the software upgraded in them. I’m hoping to get them deployed in the next couple of weeks in various areas.
“We’ve tried them on our grounds and a couple of cemeteries where we’ve had fly-tipping issues.”
Councillor Maria MacAulay said many constituents still did not know how to report fly-tipping and asked what was being done to spread the word.
Mr Lees said the council had an ongoing campaign but that a new promotion was about to be launched online and in the council’s newsletter. Word is also being spread by West Lothian Litter Pickers and other groups which take part in clean up operations.
Chairing the meeting council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick criticised the increase councils are able to charge for fly tipping fines from £200 to only £500 and said the fines should be unlimited.
“There’s a disconnect between local government and parliament. Give us the powers and the money. Local government can do the job.” he said.
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