Fly-tipping more than doubled during lockdown

Rubbish left by the beach in June. Picture by Johnny Parfitt


Fly-tipping more than doubled in Brighton and Hove when household waste sites closed temporarily.

A report going before the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday 29 September, shows a 117 per cent increase in fly-tipping during lockdown.

Between 17 March and 31 July, Cityclean recorded 680 tonnes of fly-tipped rubbish across the city.

During the same period in 2019, the recorded figure was 313 tonnes.

The two household waste and recycling sites closed in late March and reopened on 18 May with reduced capacity.

However, in July fly-tipping rates were still almost double those of 2019, increasing from 73 tonnes to 141 tonnes in 2020.

Trailers are banned, and oversize vehicles can only enter the sites at Old Shoreham Road, Hove and Wilson Avenue, Brighton on Tuesdays and Thursday.

Street sweeping and litter saw an increase of eight per cent from 1,300 from March to July in 2019 to 1,407 tonnes for the same period in 2020.

During lockdown, approximately half of the council’s street cleaning team were working, making the busiest areas a priority.

In the early stages of lockdown, this was manageable, but once the good weather returned litter levels increased as visitors used takeaways, leaving their litter behind.

July saw 515 tonnes of litter swept from city streets and the seafront, compared with 347 tonnes during the same period in 2019.

The report going before the committee said: “On one day, 11 tonnes of waste was removed from the beach, as opposed to three tonnes on a normal busy summer’s day.

“This was likely a result of indoor venues being closed, so much larger numbers of people were outside generating litter.

“Most establishments were providing a takeaway service only, leading to a lot more waste and little opportunity for that waste to be kept or disposed of on the premises.”

During this period the council moved as many staff as possible to deal with beach litter, including managers.

In addition to the usual beach-side bins, an extra 60 large 1,100 litre bins were rolled out and signs placed along the seafront warning people about the £150 fine for littering.

The report said Cityclean is working with other council departments and voluntary organisations to reduce litter on the seafront.

It is working with Surfers Against Sewage on an action plan, which will go before the committee next spring.

  1. Nathan Adler Reply

    Fly tipping is a crime that requires a much tougher punishment is abhorrent, BUT the council really did not help this by the restrictions at the city recycle centres and the chaos the OSR cycle lane caused at the Hove one.

  2. Chris Reply

    Quite apart from the fly tipping and litter issues, the pavements and gutters in many roads look very untidy, as well as being a potential hazard, because of the weeds growing through the surface. What are the roots doing to the sub-surface? Some householders clear them but most don’t. Surely a council employee walking around with a hoe or a flame gun, if they don’t use weedkillers any more, would help to improve the appearance.

  3. Hovelassies Reply

    Do as in other countries. Owners of properties are responsible for keeping the frontage of their property (outside of the freehold – the public bit) free of weeds, mown if grassy, snow in winter. It works and provides pocket money for enterprising adolescents. Juicy fines if not adhered to. Would transform this city.

  4. Billy Reply

    It’s weird the council need to commission a report to look back on what was clearly predictable at the time.
    The underlying problem was how slow the council was to react to obvious need.
    With most people off work but not allowed in shops or restaurants it’s pretty obvious that you need more street cleaners and that public loos need to be open.
    When restaurants were told they could only serve takeaways it’s pretty obvious that there will be more packaging that people need to dispose of, and yet half the city cleaning staff were told to stay at home.
    To call people irresponsible when they try to put pizza boxes in full bins is to point in the wrong direction to deflect from your own failures in basic services.
    And then there was that Green councillor who publicly laughed at people trying to dispose of their rubbish at the tip – the same tip where they had blocked the entrance with an unused cycle lane.
    Wouldn’t it be great if someone at the council would face up and admit they got this badly wrong.

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