An excuse that a resident paid someone else to dispose of rubbish will not protect them from possible prosecution if it is later found illegally fly-tipped, councillors heard.
Illegally dumped rubbish which contained a clue – for example an address on material tipped – would be followed up and challenged in Calderdale.
Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, Andrew Pitts, was speaking to Calderdale Council’s Place Scrutiny Board about how a clampdown on fly-tippers could be more effectively enforced.
Mr Pitts said: “If you say to us ‘we have paid somebody to take it away’ it won’t wash. It is no longer a get out of jail free card.
“We will take action against them unless they can provide an invoice.”
That would enable the dumpers to be traced, otherwise the resident remained responsible, he said.
He was responding after a comment from Coun Roger Taylor (Con, Northowram and Shelf) that some cases of fly-tipping were of business waste.
“That’s just about lowering your cost,” said Coun Taylor.
Councillors also heard in cases where tenants might have left mess, it was a landlord’s responsibility to clear it up.
Councillors asked a number of questions about the authority’s plans to streamline fly-tipping reporting processes, how it used information it was supplied with to target fly-tippers and what sort of technological help and manpower enforcement teams could draw on.
For example, the council was keen to use camera identification of sufficient standard, said Community Safety Partnership Manager Derek Benn.
“We will be using digital technology as soon as we have something that suits the purpose,” he said.
People would have to be alerted to the fact cameras were operating in the area.
Mr Benn said where intelligence had pinpointed a fly-tipping hot spot, surveillance might be an option to use.
If officers were called on to attend they had body cams and were trained in the appropriate use of these, cameras feeding back “in real time” to the council’s CCTV system.
Mr Pitts said the eyes and ears of its staff were important but the ultimate resource was the wider equivalent – the 112,000 people in Calderdale who wanted to do something about fly-tipping because it angered them.
A new report form was being drawn up to streamline the system, enabling useful information supplied by the public to be sent other than amid the sheer number of emails received on all subjects by the council.
Mr Benn said information from other council departments and partners like the police was also available to the council’s enforcement teams.
Coun Josh Fenton-Glynn (Lab, Calder), chairing the meeting, said the debate had produced useful points, including best practice such as working with other authorities, making recycling centres more accessible, the three ‘Es’ approach of engagement, education and enforcement and using technology to help catch offenders.