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Fly-tipping in Kent costs councils hundreds of thousands of pounds

By Ellis Stephenson

Councils around Kent are collectively spending hundreds of thousands of pounds clearing up fly-tipped rubbish.

The latest figures show £323,776.13 was spent clearing 14,081 incidents of fly-tipping throughout the county in the year 2016/17.

It compares to 11,600 incidents in 2015/16 that cost residents in the county £243,531.18.

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This is the state one fly-tipper left. Picture: Joe Wright
This is the state one fly-tipper left. Picture: Joe Wright

Dartford Borough Council spent the most clearing 2,594 instances of nuisance rubbish in 2016/17 with £128,207 of local taxpayer's cash used.

Despite the high number of cases recorded, only 159 fines were issued by the council in the same year.

In the same year Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council spent £29,839 clearing 631 cases of fly-tipping.

Meanwhile, Swale council had 3,243 reports of fly-tipping which cost a total of £55,256 to clear. Some 22 fines were sent out to people in 2016/17.

Sevenoaks Borough Council reported that it spent £83,040 clearing 1,182 incidents and two fines were issued.

Although Gravesend Borough Council did not release details of the amount it spent on clearing fly-tipping it did confirm it responded to 1,741 calls.

Dover District Council, meanwhile, brought three.

Council taxpayers in Tunbridge Wells had their money splashed on clearing 857 fly-tipping sites and Shepway District Council spent £1,178 on removing rubbish 1,284 times.

Thanet District Council officers were told of 2,347 cases of fly-tipping in the year 2016/17 and Ashford Borough Council spent £25,317.13 removing waste in the borough.

LISTEN: The impact fly-tipping has on communities

The figures were released to KentOnline following a Freedom of Information request to 13 borough, district and city councils around the county. Seven of the authorities responded.

Fly-tipping campaigner Sian Pettman said: "I think it's a terrible shame when you see, all around the country, that our public services are being diminished when £323,000 is essentially going down the drain.

"I think councils are doing a good job but we need to get to the heart of it to stop so much public money being wasted.

"An increasing number of residents are now getting fed up with the amount of fly-tipping they're seeing in our public spaces.

"I think that increases in reporting partly reflects people getting together to let each other know how to report these problems.

Fly-tipping has been spotted around the county with councils shelling out thousands to clear it away
Fly-tipping has been spotted around the county with councils shelling out thousands to clear it away

"The causes of fly-tipping are many and complex. One is criminality and another's pure laziness.

"But sometimes there are problems with access, especially if someone doesn't have a vehicle to get to a refuse site."

In recent weeks we have reported on a number of fly-tipping incidents across the county.

Last week Thanet District Council hit out at people who had dumped rubbish on a pavement, hours after it had been first cleared.

Meanwhile, in August rural spots in Ashford were also targeted.

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