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UPDATE: Faster response times on fly-tipping

Local authorities could soon be required to provide information on how quickly they respond to reports of fly-tipping, if a new bill is passed.

The bill was presented to the House of Commons on February 9 by Member of Parliament for Enfield North, Joan Ryan.

Although local authorities now have increased powers to take action against fly-tippers Ryan feels that fly-tipping remains a big problem in her constituency.

However, Enfield Borough Council has accused Ryan of scaremongering and insists that fly-tipping is not a big problem in the borough.

Ryan said: In Enfield in November 2009 alone, there were nearly 1,400 reported cases of fly-tipping and over the course of a year we face not far off 10,000 reported incidents of fly-tipping.

In contrast to this Enfield Councillor Ertan Hurer said: Fly-tipping has not exploded in Enfield. Our streets are far cleaner than they have been for ten years. Ms Ryan is scaremongering.

Ryans proposed bill, if passed, would ask local authorities to submit information to the Environment Agency relating to their response times to incidences of fly-tipping alongside all the other information which they are already required to provide on fly-tipping.

At present local authorities have to tell the EA how much fly-tipping takes place, how they deal with it and how much it costs to clear up, but Ryan believes asking for this additional information on response times would encourage authorities to be more pro-active and possibly even prevent further fly-tipping.

No local authority would want the dubious title of the slowest council in Britain to deal with fly-tipping, and no voter would tolerate a council that dragged its heels in removing rubbish, said Ryan.

Publishing response times is not just about getting councils to remove rubbish more quickly. Important though it is, it is also about reducing the amount of fly-tipping in the first place. Removing rubbish quickly would also act as a deterrent to fly-tippers.

Ryan believes that this bill would only mean a simple change which could produce hugely positive results.

Councillor Hurer said: "We have no problem with Ms Ryan's Bill.  We currently have a four hour turnaround of clearing fly-tips on public land and we would have no problem in publishing the results of this irrespective of her bill.

"However, If Ms Ryan really wants to put forward an effective solution to combating fly-tipping, her government needs to strike a careful balance between the costs of  disposing waste with the side effects of illegal fly-tipping when the cost of their green taxes are raised disproportionately. Get that balance wrong, it damages our environment."

The bill was supported by Siobhain McDonagh MP, Andrew Dismore MP and Fiona Mctaggart MP, among others, and will get a second reading in the House of Commons on April 30.

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