The fight against fly-tipping is to be stepped up by East Hampshire District Council following Hampshire County Council’s decision to cut hours at waste recycling centres. EHDC fears that an increase in fly-tipping will be the inevitable outcome – a view backed up by staff at the centres themselves.
A recent residents’ survey, which revealed that most people are ‘satisfied or more than satisfied’ with the way the district council conducts its business, pinpointed the issue as one of the big bugbears of their lives.
District council leader Cllr Ferris Cowper said: “The inevitable increase in the curse of fly-tipping was simply ignored by the Leader of Hampshire County Council when he tried to defend his policy of cutting hours at the centres, closing them altogether on Thursdays and charging some people to use them. I know very well that for many of our residents fly-tipping is a nightmare which looks terrible, causes accidents from concealed sharp objects, destroys the appearance of their local community, encourages anti-social behaviour and even contributes to the spread of diseases. The local East Hampshire District Council is strongly opposed to these closures and we are deeply disappointed that the county council over in Winchester sees fit to press ahead despite being clearly warned of the consequences. I have met with my Cabinet and senior district council officers to judge our response. We know already from our recent residents’ survey that our fly-tipping service is considered important and is well regarded.
We also run a highly respected “zero tolerance” service on littering. As a result we are now evaluating the idea of investing more money in our littering zero tolerance service and extending that to the fly-tipping issue. We have to be ready with extra resources to clamp down on this nasty problem when the county council presses ahead with its regrettable closure programme. East Hampshire residents can be assured that EHDC will be investing in extra measures to deal with the consequences of the county council’s decision. Obviously the county council’s cost saving benefits to the public purse evaporate quickly when your local district council has to spend more money to clear up the ensuing mess.
It’s all very well for the Leader of the county council to promote a County Unitary in his response, which would end your local district council, but based on this example, the County Unitary idea will put cost savings ahead of service provision. That’s not my view at EHDC and I don’t think it’s your view as local residents and businesses. County Unitarisation is a one trick pony; it cuts costs, but at what cost? EHDC cuts costs, cuts Council Tax, improves and adds new services and does all of this at record satisfaction levels.”