Row over fly-tipping enforcement as election pledge remains unmet

Labour administration pledged 200 CCTV cameras to catch fly-tippers but council currently has only a small fraction of this number, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Fly-tipping in Alma Road, Enfield Highway
Fly-tipping in Alma Road, Enfield Highway

Enfield Council says it is “reviewing options” for the purchase of 200 fly-tipping enforcement cameras after the Labour administration was accused of failing to deliver on a key manifesto pledge.

The provision of the extra cameras designed to catch fly-tippers was a key pledge of the ruling Labour group’s 2022 local election manifesto – yet recent enquiries by the Conservative opposition group revealed the number of cameras fell from 15 last year to just ten for the whole borough in April this year.

While a council spokesperson claimed the number of operational fly-tipping enforcement cameras had increased over the past year, noting that the figure sometimes changes because of repairs and maintenance, they acknowledged the manifesto pledge to “introduce 200 additional mobile CCTV cameras to catch more fly-tippers” had not yet been met.

In response to the Conservative group’s enquiries, council officers said last month that the authority had just ten CCTV cameras to catch fly-tippers and could not confirm how many cameras there were planned to be in 2023/24, the second year of the Labour administration’s four-year term.

Further enquiries revealed the council had 15 re-deployable waste enforcement cameras in 2022 and that 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 £50,000. 

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In their alternative budget proposed last year, the Conservatives put forward a plan to provide 100 CCTV cameras to catch fly-tippers – funded by halting a makeover of Enfield Civic Centre – in addition to bringing back weekly bin collections and doubling the waste enforce team. But members of the Labour administration opposed the Tories’ budget amendments.

The Tories say residents have consistently identified tackling fly-tipping as a key priority for the council and want to see more cameras at fly-tipping hot spots.

James Hockney, shadow cabinet member for finance, said: “This is an absolute failure of the Labour administration to deliver on the people’s priorities. Their uncosted manifesto is clearly failing to deliver on key promises. The only things they are delivering is more debt, cuts, and more blaming everyone else for their failures.”

A council spokesperson said: “The number of operational fly-tipping enforcement cameras in the borough has increased over the last year as we continue to take action against fly tippers across the borough. This number fluctuates throughout the year because repairs and maintenance of the cameras is required. The council has also trialled a number of different suppliers, testing for reliability and quality.

“The council is currently reviewing options and products available on the market regarding the purchase of 200 waste enforcement cameras to ensure value for money.

“Fly-tipping is a continuous blight across the UK, and is not unique to Enfield. The council continues to offer a free bulky waste doorstep collection to all residents and recently launched a ‘Can you Help?’ campaign, to ask for residents’ help in identifying those who have been captured on waste enforcement CCTV cameras and are suspected of illegally dumping their waste on the borough’s streets.”

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