Councils need more powers to stop fly-tippers and should work with shops – LGA

Local authorities must get more effective powers to deter fly-tippers and should team up with major supermarkets to tackle the growing number of dumped trolleys, which cost councils up to £50m per year, the LGA has said.

Citing government research released last week that revealed fly-tipping has risen again, the association warned that dumped trolleys on their own are already exceeding 1.5 million each year –creating further financial costs for councils, which are already expected to face a £20bn deficit by the end of the decade.

Local authorities can try to claim the costs of removing, storing and disposing of abandoned trolleys from their owners, but this is a time-consuming and bureaucratic process. The system must be streamlined to accelerate councils’ access to compensation, the LGA says, and it wants supermarkets to work with councils to combat trolley thieves through greater in-store measures to tackle the issue at source instead.

This could include strengthening bollards and security gates, increasing CCTV in store premises, setting up awareness campaigns and implementing more wheel-locking devices which activate when trolleys are taken outside store premises.

Cllr Peter Box, LGA’s environment spokesman, said: “Councils, who are doing everything they can to tackle this burgeoning blight, are being left with a major clear-up bill. We want to see the supermarket giants step up their game and show real leadership over this issue.

“At a time when councils face difficult choices about services in the light of reducing budgets, they are having to spend millions each year on tackling litter and fly-tipping, including abandoned shopping trolleys. This is money that would be better spent on vital frontline services.

“There are a number of changes that would help tackle littering and fly-tipping, including sharing more of the responsibility with product producers – such as retailers and manufacturers – to contribute to the costs of clear up, and giving councils more effective powers to deter fly-tippers.”

The association listed case studies of areas where councils are actively tackling the issue in partnership with local retailers.

In Oxford, for example, the city council is working closely with retailers to reduce the numbers of abandoned trolleys, but it also holds the power to fine shops if council staff have to collect and store their shopping trolleys. It has also appointed Trolleywise to pick up trolleys on behalf of retailers across the city by responding to reports from the council’s street cleaning teams and checking hotspot areas.

And in Teignbridge, the council proactively encourages people to report abandoned trolleys directly to the supermarkets.

Today’s call from the LGA also follows its analysis published last week revealing that, even if councils stopped providing eight vital services entirely – including street cleaning – the cash saved would still not be enough to plug the potential £20bn funding hole threat posed by the upcoming Spending Review.


Jphillips   27/10/2015 at 18:13

Individual councils cannot fix the national litter problem. We need a National Litter Tsar with a national strategic vision and plan and sufficient powers to force councils to actually 'enforce' existing legislation. An entire culture change is required and this cannot be achieved by individual councils. Anyone interested in change can sign a petition for a national litter tsar over at this link

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