Agency casts web to catch fly tippers

The Environment Agency has unveiled a fly-tipping database to help local authorities to catch illegal fly-tippers, and has already used it with great success.

FlyCapture has already been used to catch, confiscate and crush two serial fly-tipping trucks that have plagued local communities in London by illegally dumping waste in public streets and fields. The trucks were responsible for at least 27 separate incidents at a number of sites across London, costing tax payers thousands in clear up costs.

The database alerted the Environment Agency to the fact that four different local authorities were also seeking the same trucks, meaning that all could work together to have the vehicles taken away from the owners and permanently put out of action.

In cases like this, where vehicles have been recognised but the driver has not been identified, the Environment Agency will issue a warrant, seize the vehicle and attempt to find the owner. If the owner does not come forward the vehicles will be destroyed.

Local authorities and the Environment Agency can record details of fly tipping incidences on the FlyCapture database so that all neighbouring authorities can see what is happening in their area.

Alan D'Arcy, Waste Policy Manager at the Environment Agency said: "We are delighted that FlyCapture has played a major role in identifying and taking these vehicles off our streets. The illegal dumping of waste is a growing problem that can involve serious, organised criminals, often moving around between different areas and regions. FlyCapture is helping us and local authorities to identify trends and so target our resources more effectively and, as in this case, weed out the serious offenders."

Nationally fly-tipping is increasing and the Environment Agency dealt with 40% more incidents in 2003 than in 2001. Almost 25% of these cases involve waste from construction, demolition and excavation activities.

Some authorities report dealing with as many as 20,000 incidents annually - many small scale incidents involving bags of household waste thoughtlessly dumped.

By David Hopkins



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