MERTHYR TYDFIL: Unregistered land fly-tipping
The council is looking into how it can clear fly-tipping from land that is unregistered in Merthyr Tydfil.
A report to the council’s neighbourhood service committee on Monday, January 18 said that the authority writes to owners of private land where there is fly-tipping highlighting that it is their responsibility to remove it but currently does not clear waste from unregistered land.
Because unregistered land does not have a registered keeper, the local authority said it is unable to write to an owner requesting they remove the waste and any waste they do remove would be the responsibility of the council.
In February 2015 the environmental cleansing and enforcement team was set up as a dedicated team to deal with fly tipping.
Originally, the team only dealt with fly tipping that was on council owned land but this move on to them investigating all incidents of fly tipping.
However waste was only removed from council owned land as it has a statutory duty to ensure its land is kept free from waste and this duty does not include private or unregistered land.
The fly tipping team consists of one environmental health officer (EHO), one technical administrative assistant, two operatives and one van investigating all incidents of fly tipping as well as removing all waste types off council owned land.
The report said that to clear waste off unregistered land, there are two options for the team which are to employ an additional operative on a salary of £26,528 and vehicle at a cost of £655 per month plus fuel or to accept that current resources are used, increasing the time taken to remove waste from council land and unregistered land and having a negative effect on the council’s performance with any staff sickness or holidays also impacting on this and delaying removal time.
The council has no control over the type of items that are fly tipped, therefore the amount of residual waste it collects could increase which may have detrimental financial implications on the council, the report said.
Disposal costs would also need to be taken into consideration, as removing waste from unregistered land would mean more fly tipped waste being collected.
If hazardous waste such as asbestos needed to be removed this is very costly but f it was a significant amount this should be referred to Natural Resources Wales for removal and should not be removed by the council, the report said.
Since April 2020, the council has been writing to private land owners where fly tipped waste has been found.
This means that when searches are requested via the estates department, they also find out when land is unregistered.
Since April 2020 there have been 26 instances of waste deposited on unregistered land reported, where no action has been taken to remove the waste as no land owner information is available.
The report said that it is projected that given the volume of complaints that have already been reported since April 2020, the approximate number of fly tipping instances on unregistered land that would need action over a one year period would be between 75- 100.
These instances would be investigated for information regarding the alleged offender and the waste cleared thereafter.
Upon investigation, the areas in which fly tipping has been reported on unregistered land tend to be large scale fly tipping consisting of household waste and builders waste, likely to be from house clearances and building works, the report said.
The report said: “Fly tipping has a negative impact on the environment and as waste on unregistered land is currently left in situ, it is not only unsightly but creates the perfect harbourage for vermin in certain circumstances.
“Another issue with fly tipped waste on unregistered land is that as no one takes responsibility for the waste it then becomes a ‘magnet’ for more fly tipping instances meaning the issue escalates and more waste is added.”
The next step is for a report to go before cabinet to amend the existing fly tipping policy to include the removal of fly tipping from unregistered land and agree how it will be resourced in terms of staff and disposal costs as well as the limits on the amount of fly tipping the council will remove from unregistered land before referring it to Natural Resources Wales for removal.
Words: Anthony Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter
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