Environmental Enforcement Presentation
The Committee received a presentation from Tim Harris, the Environmental Enforcement Manager, on the Environmental Enforcement Team’s achievements to date with examples of case studies.
The presentation can be viewed on the link below:
Following questions from the Committee; the Environment Enforcement Manager highlighted the following:
· In regards to suspected fly-tipping caught on CCTV, the example given being a vehicle driving down a road with visible items in the back and returning empty, the prosecution relies on the DVLA. If the vehicle is driving down a large road which has a multitude of entrance and exit junctions, the CCTV alone of the vehicle driving down the road would not be enough evidence for the DVLA to surrender the vehicle details, there would need to be a witness statement to accompany the CCTV.
· In an effort to reduce the amount of fly-tipping occurring at recycling centres, the Environmental Enforcement Team are partnering up with SOEX. Cameras will be installed at multiple recycling sites and signage has already been displayed stating that ‘CCTV is in operation’. SOEX will be responsible for collecting evidence which they will forward to the Council.
· In relation to fly-tipping at charity shops, there needs to be better education for Gravesham residents as to what charity shops will and will not accept. However, in some cases it may be a clear example of fly-tipping and in these scenarios the Environmental Enforcement Team will always investigate.
· As illustrated in Case Study 1, multiple Members were concerned with Gravesham residents being conned by fake waste disposal companies who would go on to fly-tip their waste illegally. The Environment Enforcement Manager explained that the Council does not intend to prosecute members of the public who have made genuine mistakes. Kent County Council have also recently tried to educate and spread awareness to members of the public on their Duty of Care through a large programme which included posters on bus stops and on buses. Furthermore, there are regular leaflet drops and social media posts about the topic.
· When residents contact the Environmental Enforcement Team with their fly-tipping sighting through the website link or the contact centre, they can expect an email response at each stage of the investigation. If the fly-tipping site is found to be outside of the investigative realm of the team, for example: it is on private land, then the resident will receive an email to explain this. The turnaround for attending a fly-tipping report is the next working day and waste management intend to remove the waste within five days. When the waste is cleared, the resident will receive an automated email, ensuring a constant flow of information to the resident.
· When a case goes to Court and relies on a witness statement solely, the witness cannot remain anonymous. However, the Council can use the initial witness statement in the investigation process to gain access to information from the DVLA. As the investigation progresses, if there is then enough evidence against the suspected fly-tipper the witness may not be needed for the Court process. Furthermore, the witness can at any stage withdraw their statement if they feel intimidated.
The Committee commended the Environmental Enforcement Manager and his team on the fantastic work in this area.