Council aims to get tough on antisocial fly-tipping
THE heat has been turned up on offenders who use Cornwall's countryside as an illegal dumping ground.
Last month the Cornish Guardian revealed how rural lanes and beauty spots were being spoiled by illegally dumped waste – and the problem is getting worse.
Since we began to shine the spotlight on the illegal activity, national and international businesses, readers and community chiefs have all said they backed any efforts taken to stop the fly-tipping offenders in their tracks.
This newspaper has been inundated with calls from residents reporting incidents from builders' rubble dumped near much-loved footpaths to nappies left strewn across fields.
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And last week Cornwall Council's new figures showed it has cost the authority about £200,000 more to clear up fly-tipping this year than last.
There were 4,218 incidents in 2012-13, up from 3,480 the previous year.
It is believed the rise has been prompted by the slash in the number of municipal tip opening hours, the new van permitting system and the poor economic climate.
Cornwall councillor Steve Double, chair of the council's waste development advisory panel, said he would welcome larger fines for perpetrators caught fly-tipping.
Heftier fines would also pay for increased CCTV surveillance, which is what is needed to catch offenders and bring a prosecution.
Mr Double said: "It is a form of theft because they are making the taxpayer or someone else pay for disposing of the waste rather than paying for it to be disposed of properly."
He blames the increase in fly-tipping – generally consisting of builder's rubble, tyres and items from household clearances – primarily on the "economic situation".
He said: "It increases as businesses are trying to avoid the cost of disposing of their waste appropriately.
"The biggest challenge is that in order to get a prosecution you need evidence and that's very difficult to get unless you catch them in the act. Setting up surveillance really is the only way.
"Fly-tipping is antisocial and it is a crime. There needs to be a change in culture."
Reader Rob Lampard, 64, from St Austell called the Cornish Guardian after discovering rubble and tyres while walking close to the Luxulyan aquaduct.
"It's pretty disgusting. People just don't seem to care anymore."
When the Cornish Guardian went to the spot it appeared to have been cleared.
We're continuing to appeal for our readers to name and shame the fly-tipping grot-spots in their town, village or rural area.
Call our newsdesk on 01726 76815, e-mail reports and pictures to email@example.com or visit the St Austell Cornish Guardian Facebook page.