14,098 reports of fly-tipping in St Helier

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More than 14,000 reports of fly-tipping were recorded in St Helier alone last year, with hundreds more cases across the rest of the Island, according to figures obtained by the JEP.

But despite a surge in reports – mainly fuelled by the launch of the States’ LoveJersey app which allows Islanders to log cases – no one has been prosecuted in court for fly-tipping for at least 11 years.

St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft, whose parish recorded 14,098 fly-tipping cases last year, said that if more people were prosecuted in court – rather than being issued with a warning or dealt with at a parish hall inquiry – it would send out a message that dumping rubbish illegally is unacceptable.

‘I think most people would call for a tightening up of enforcement. I know that fly-tippers are difficult to catch but if this is done people will be deterred,’ he said.

‘I know people have been taken to parish hall inquiries, but I would support greater enforcement to stop what is an anti-social and environmentally horrendous thing to do.

‘Clearing up fly-tipping is paid for with taxpayers’ money and in an age where people are getting more concerned about looking after the planet and its seas, I think it would send out the message that it is grossly irresponsible to do this if there were more successful prosecutions in court.’

The worst cases of illegal dumping in recent years have included 200 litres of oil being deposited near Anne Port, wooden doors and window frames being left in a field in Rozel and asbestos being found dumped in St Saviour.

During the past three years, the States Environmental Protection team has formally investigated 121 cases and identified 35 culprits.

Those identified had been responsible for relatively minor fly-tipping and faced a warning or advice rather than court action. Under the Waste Management (Jersey) Law people caught dumping rubbish can be jailed for up to two years or face an unlimited fine.

Richard Runacres, the States waste and water management regulation officer, said they had not managed to identify who was behind the most serious cases.

‘We would definitely like to catch more people who are doing it and would prosecute for more serious cases,’ he said.

The number of cases investigated by Environmental Protection has increased by 60 per cent over the last three years – from about 30 in 2015 to 50 last year.

And environmental campaigners fear that the commercial waste charge to be introduced next year, and the tripling of commercial green waste charges at La Collette in April, could lead to even more fly-tipping in the coming years.

Andy Farmer, of the Littlefeet environmental group, said: ‘I think with the introduction of the [commercial] waste charge the problem is going to get worse because it is going to encourage fly-tipping.

‘I do agree that if people are caught fly-tipping there should be harsher penalties for them, but I also think that we should have better recycling facilities.’

Nigel Jones, the chair of Jersey in Transition, said that he supported legal action being taken in more severe cases.

‘Materials can be dumped which can cause harm to animals or pollute the environment for years. There have been some examples of terrible chemicals getting into streams,’ he said.

‘If people are not disposing of these materials in the correct manner, and it’s either due to laziness or because they want to avoid the cost of disposing of them, then they deserve to be punished.’

Debra D’Orleans, director of municipal waste in St Helier, said that the huge number of cases in the parish were largely due to Islanders persistently dumping rubbish next to bins and recycling areas.

‘On 15 January, for example, we had to pick up 19 bags of glass because people didn’t bother putting it in a glass bin,’ she said.

‘That day we also picked up four household items – such as heaters, fridges and furniture – and two bags of building rubble. We have one guy who is collecting all this and it takes up 80 per cent of his job.’

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