Record number of fly-tipping prosecutions in Enfield as council claims crackdown success

Cabinet member for environment hails effort to curb illegal dumping but says he’s “not rushing” to meet election pledge on CCTV, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Cabinet member for environment Rick Jewell (left) with some of Enfield Council's street waste collection team
Councillor Rick Jewell (left) with Enfield Council’s street waste team

A senior Labour councillor claims a crackdown on fly-tipping in Enfield is working as the council prosecutes more people than ever for illegal dumping.

Rick Jewell, Enfield Council’s cabinet member for environment,  claims the actions being taken by the council are “making an improvement” and signalled the authority still plans to provide an extra 200 enforcement cameras despite problems that saw several recently sent back to suppliers.

Reports of illegal dumping in Enfield borough rose sevenfold during the four years to 2020/21, when 8,719 fly-tipping reports were made and the council spent £1.25million on dealing with the problem.

According to a presentation made to a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday, the authority handed out more than 9,000 fly-tipping and littering fines and made 1,550 prosecutions during 2022/23.

Under questioning from councillors, Cllr Jewell revealed that the council issues between 35 and 40 fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) every month for spitting, which “shows our commitment to tackling people that treat our streets as badly as they do”.

He added: “The actions that we are taking are really making an improvement. People do say it is making an improvement […] Some of the reported fly-tips by the public are the lowest they have ever been. We are prosecuting more people than we have ever prosecuted.”

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The update set out a range of schemes rolled out by the council to help tackle fly-tipping. These include free bulky waste collections, launched in September 2021, bigger refuse collection vehicles, and a dedicated enforcement team patrolling streets.

In February last year, the council deployed new mobile CCTV cameras to catch fly-tippers and pledged to name and shame offenders. But the Labour group pledged to provide an extra 200 cameras in their local election manifesto, and the Conservative opposition group recently revealed there were only ten cameras for the whole borough in April this year.

The Tories also discovered the authority bought six mobile cameras at a cost of £24,950 that were later returned because their “battery life was limited”. Another six mains-powered cameras were also returned, costing an extra £50,000.

Quizzed on the issue by Conservative scrutiny panel members, Cllr Jewell insisted that the plan to provide 200 more cameras had been costed and it was still the council’s “aspiration” to roll them out. He added: “We’ve got another three years, so I’m not rushing to get 200 out in the first year.”

Cllr Jewell said that after installing the cameras, the council realised some lampposts were not strong enough to power them.

Doug Wilkinson, the council’s director of environment, added that some of the mobile CCTV camera batteries had not lasted as long as the suppliers had promised.

He said the council had spent “a lot of time with the products and suppliers” to test the equipment, but it was “proving difficult to get the right type of kit that would be redeployable and reliable, and the battery life that we require”.

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