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Council rejects drone plan to fight fly tipping in Cambridgeshire

By Adrian Curtis

A South Cambridgeshire councillor has voiced his anger at the growing menace of fly-tipping and the council’s refusal to allocate more money to combat the blight on the district’s countryside.

Tory Cllr Peter Topping, a former leader of the South Cambridgeshire District Council, proposed an amendment at last month’s budget meeting that increased funding for tackling fly-tipping. But his amendment was rejected by the council at the meeting, leaving Cllr Topping furious.

He told the Cambridge Independent: “I put forward proposals to increase the resources – equipment and people – that the council has to tackle fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping is a growing menace in South Cambs (7780010)
Fly-tipping is a growing menace in South Cambs (7780010)

“My proposals were voted down by the new ‘green to the core’ Liberal Democrat administration. But I believe that cracking down on fly-tipping is important because it shows that the council is committed to our environment, here and now. It also supports our farmers whose land, and the crops they grow on it, are blighted by fly-tipping.”

As part of his rejected proposals, Cllr Topping wanted the council to use drone technology to accurately identify reports and verify with complainants. The cost for the drone plus staff and vehicles would be £120,000 in revenue and £100,000 in capital for a new vehicle plus an additional investigation officer at £30,000-plus.

However, the council has a number of proposed improvements planned to combat the problem. It is to create a new toolkit for parishes and communities so they know how they can prevent and tackle fly-tipping and it intends to publish new information by October 2019 to support joint community action on fly-tipping prevention.

It will also implement a new system to speed-up reports and clear-up fly-tips, and is looking to employ an additional partnership officer to coordinate fly-tipping intelligence and awareness inside two months.

SCDC deputy leader and member for Barrington, Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, said: “I live in a rural village and so fully appreciate the impact that people thoughtlessly dumping rubbish can have on the countryside, and particularly farmers. That’s why we pledged, in our ambitious new business plan, to run a campaign to reduce the environmental impact of fly-tipping. This includes employing a Cambridgeshire-wide officer who is working with all councils, police and farmers to share intelligence and raise awareness.

"We’re aiming to clear-up fly-tips faster and train more of our operatives to look for evidence, which we hope will lead to more convictions.

"Fly-tipping is illegal and there’s no excuse for doing it. I’d ask anyone who sees rubbish illegally dumped in South Cambridgeshire to report it to us via our website so we can look for evidence then get it removed.”

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