Midlothian fly-tipping: Crackdown on fly-tipping, dog fouling and litter with launch of dedicated new team
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A dedicated environmental crime team started work today, focusing on people illegally dumping waste, failing to pick up after their pets and dropping litter. Fly-tipping, dog fouling and litter are said to be the top concerns of local people and the cause of most complaints about the council.The new team of three wardens has been set up as a year-long pilot. The wardens will have the power to issue statutory and fixed penalty notices of between £80 and £200 to offenders and report potential crimes to the procurator fiscal. Those convicted of serious environmental crimes could face up to 12 months in prison and fines in excess of £40,000.
Councillor Stuart McKenzie, Midlothian Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the environment, and depute council leader Councillor Colin Cassidy met the leader of the new team at a fly-tipping hotspot in Dalkeith ahead of today’s launch. Cllr McKenzie said: “We’ve seen refrigerators just dumped outside the entrance to flats and a shopping trolley already filling up with rubbish – these are absolute eyesores and have to stop.
“It’s so easy to recycle and pick up your rubbish yet people are still committing environmental crimes that are having a detrimental impact on residents, local businesses and wildlife. Dog fouling, fly-tipping and littering are among the top issues residents contact the council to complain about. Whether we work or live in the county, we all want to enjoy and be proud of a clean, green Midlothian. That’s why this council is determined to take a firm stand to make sure local areas are not blighted by environmental crimes.”
He added that responding to environmental issues was also a drain on council resources. Fly-tipping alone costs the council around £60,000 a year. He said: “We estimate the cost of funding the new posts – solely dedicated to tackling environmental crimes - and the associated costs of setting up the scheme – will be offset by the extra enforcement income.”
CCTV will be put in known hotspots to act as a deterrent and help identify perpetrators. The three dedicated members of the environmental crime team, who will complement the work of existing wardens, will also wear video cameras to help gather evidence.
Cllr Cassidy said: “By setting up a dedicated environmental crime team we’re sending out a clear warning to offenders ‘we’re coming to get you’. These guys are experts in their field. They’ve got numerous tools at their disposal and work like detectives, piecing together evidence to build their case.” As well as catching those responsible, the new team would also educate local people, including school groups, to encourage them to change their behaviour, he added.
Environmental crimes can be reported using an online form or by calling 0131 561 5284.