Spy Cameras in Bins

By Julian Whittle

CARLISLE City Council is to introduce portable spy cameras to catch fly tippers.

Council chiefs report a 200 per cent increase in illegal fly tipping since the city switched to fortnightly wheelie-bin collections in the spring.

They say that, up to now, staff have taken a softly-softly approach to households who leave out too much rubbish.

But from this week, starting in St Aidan’s ward, people who put out too much waste, or put it out too early, can expect a £50 fixed-penalty fine.

Councillor Ray Bloxham, the executive member responsible, said: “The big problem we’ve had has been people dumping sacks in back lanes.

“There are also people who put out waste earlier than the day of collection.”

The spy cameras have been borrowed from the Environment Agency and should be in use later this month.

They are likely to be deployed first in so-called fly-tipping “hot spots” – Botchergate east, Botcherby, Aglionby Street, Warwick Square and Dowbeck Road.

A report says that students and migrant workers are among the worst offenders.

The council also has plans to extend a pilot scheme for the 6,794 mainly-terraced homes not suited to wheelie-bins. They are given purple sacks, which are collected weekly.

Under the pilot scheme in Garden Street, Orchard Street, Brook Street and London Road, households leave sacks at their front door rather than in the lanes at the back.

Council officers have also suggested making a £10 charge for the bulky-items collection service, currently free. This covers removal of electrical goods, sofas, mattresses and other large items.

A £10 charge should bring the council £120,000 a year.

Mr Bloxham, however, said he opposed a charge for fear it would encourage fly tipping.

A final decision will be taken in December.

Overall, the council says fortnightly collections have been a success.

The volume of household waste sent to landfill has fallen by 28 per cent and the proportion of waste recycled is at a record high of 52.2 per cent.

The amount of waste collected at Rome Street tip has also fallen.

The switchover involved delivery of 45,000 wheeled bin, 3,500 greenboxes and 60,000 green sacks for recycling.

There are plans to extend recycling schemes and set up 20 recycling points to serve rural areas where kerbside collections are not viable.

Despite the magnitude of the change, the council received only 65 formal complaints. Environmental health officers report no increase in the rat population.

Mr Bloxham added: “We haven’t had the problems experienced by other local authorities who’ve moved to fortnightly waste collections.

“That’s because we introduced kerbside recycling collections at the same time.”