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Prisoner waste management scheme set to expand

A scheme in Lincolnshire involving prisoners in waste management could expand to a neighbouring council.

Inmates from North Sea Camp open prison have been working at a waste depot operated by Boston Borough Council for four years, and their involvement was last year extended to include a fly-tipping team.

A number of other agencies, including the county council, local drainage boards and housing associations, support the project and MRW understands that South Holland District Council has agreed in principle to join the scheme.

Almost 100 tonnes of waste has been cleared from more than 500 fly-tipping sites under the scheme, with a third of it recycled.

An internal report going to Boston Council cabinet this week says: “We have had a number of placements working at the depot and the process itself has been an unqualified success.

“Many of our volunteers have commented that working at the depot gives them a real opportunity to prepare for their release and engenders the work ethic that they will need following this, and we have been able to support them with work-related references.

“Happily a number of our volunteers have been released and have still kept in touch with us as they look for employment and thereafter.”

Six months ago, it was agreed that prisoners could join the council’s Fly Swat Team.

Officers felt there was greater risk in this work than at the waste depot and set up a “vigorous selection and training process” with the chosen inmates being put through a programme by prison and council staff.

Because the recruits are eventually released from prison, an ongoing programme of recruitment and training encourages others to sign up.

The report concludes: “The borough’s operations have benefitted greatly with the partnership arrangements that we have with North Sea Camp, and we hope that the links that we have forged together will remain for many years to come.”

Boston’s Operation Fly Swat in figures

  • 98.34 tonnes cleared from 556 fly-tip sites
  • 59.7% was landfilled; 33.4% has been recycled; 5% was garden waste; and 1.9% construction materials
  • 1,619 black bags of rubbish were collected as well as 939 tyres, 179 sofas, 179 items of other furniture, 167 televisions, 89 mattresses and 31 fridges and freezers
  • The crew from HMP North Sea Camp clean up river banks, verges and ditches in Boston borough and into East Lindsey and South Holland council areas
  • Prisoners are capturing low-grade PVC in a private/public sector social enterprise between a plastic recycling firm and the prison service. Low-risk offenders sort, segregate and process contaminated plastic for further refining by PVC Recycling Ltd and eventual re-manufacturing into new products by UK-based manufacturers. The scheme was launched in February with a pilot project involving 30 men working up to 37 hours per week at Buckley Hall Prison, Rochdale.

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