Fly-tipping could prompt council tax rise

New waste charges are being blamed for an increase in waste-dumping and could force up council tax rates.

Since Devon County Council introduced charging for non-household waste at its recycling centres there have been more than 30 calls to tackle fly-tipping in East Devon, including in Ottery St Mary.

Town Councillor for West Hill Jo Talbot was walking her dog last week when she came across a dumper-truck’s worth of flooring material and pipes in Higher Metcombe.

She called East Devon District Council to remove the debris, one of 34 such instances since April 1 when the new charges came in, compared with 26 for the same period last year without the charges.

She said: “Over the years we have had a lot of fly tipping in that area as it is fairly isolated from houses but on a fairly busy road into West Hill. Over the past couple of years the situation has got better as we put up a sign and some fences. However, I feel that with the new charges at the tip this is going to be an ongoing problem from now on.”

DCC used to accept limited amounts of non-household waste, but in a bid to cut down the �1 million it spent last year on the matter, has introduced charges including �2 per tyre or �7 per sheet of plasterboard.

But it seems rather than paying the charges people are choosing to dump the waste, harming the environment and leaving EDDC to pick up the cost of having to clear it up.

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A statement from the council said: “Anyone who fly-tips is deluding themselves that they are saving money. If this becomes a more serious problem, then the cost of clearing up the rubbish may have implications for future Council Tax charges.”

The punishment for fly-tipping includes �80 on the spot fines but convictions can lead to fines of up to �50,000, making it considerably cheaper to pay the small fee at the tip. EDDC say staff are now particularly vigilant on the matter, but would ask members of the public to report any fly-tippers they see.