Brent Council to Take on Illegal Rubbish Dumpers

At the recent meeting of Brent Council’s Cabinet, I presented the findings of the Scrutiny task group which I chaired. The task group had looked into the current state of ‘fly-tipping’ in Brent, although one of the key recommendations is that we stop referring to ‘fly-tipping’ and instead call it what it actually is: illegal rubbish dumping.

A link to the report can be found here.

'Fly-tipping' will now be termed, 'Illegal Rubbish Dumping'.
‘Fly-tipping’ will now be termed, ‘Illegal Rubbish Dumping’.

The recommendations in the report – which were approved unanimously by Cabinet – are set out below:

Knowledge

1. The task group recommends that the term “Fly-tipping” should be changed to “Illegal
Rubbish Dumping” (IRD) in communications with residents. Residents rarely refer to
dumped rubbish as fly-tipping and there is apparently confusion among some residents
about what “fly-tipping” actually means.This is not a good basis on which to communicate with residents about the issue, therefore the task group recommends changing the language we use.

*We recognise that authorities and bodies outside of Brent will, for the time being,
probably continue to refer to illegal rubbish dumping as “fly-tipping”, so we accept that
we will have to use this language when communicating with them.

2. A named officer/s within the Waste Management service should be responsible for
continuous monitoring of new methods to tackle IRD, keeping the council abreast of the
latest developments and leading improvement practices; not just from other London
boroughs and the UK, but from Europe and the rest of the world. The task group
supports the behavioural studies that the council is currently participating in as part of the
West London Alliance (WLA) and recommends that it should continue to build on this
area of work.

3. Brent Waste Management service should review its internal benchmarking, looking
internally at how we monitor our own performance and should report performance
quarterly in public. It is recommended that this is communicated to residents and other
councillors via the council’s website and Brent Magazine.

4. Brent Waste Management should liaise with neighbouring London boroughs to develop a
benchmarking network. The West London Alliance (WLA) would be a good place to start
as there are links already established. There should also be additional cross-border
networking, feeding into intelligence with the aim of bringing forward more prosecutions
for trade waste dumping.

Education

5. Constitutionally empower “Community Guardians” by appointing, through an agreed
selection process, figureheads like the chair of Keep Wembley Tidy. Councillors can
support this by identifying suitable candidates. These guardians are to be given a profile
on the council’s web page, support and resources from the council and Veolia; to tackle
illegal rubbish dumping in their appointed locations.

5.1. It was identified in the task group’s research that residents often identify with
different place names than the wards in which they live. The task group is
recommending that the community guardians structure in Brent is mapped in the
following village localities and guardians are allocated to these areas: Wembley, Dudden Hill, Kensal rise, Kenton, Neasden, Stonebridge, Queens Park, Sudbury, Kilburn, Harlesden, Alperton, Willesden.

*This list is intended as a guide and residents are of course free to suggest the
names for their own campaigns, as well as the areas these campaigns cover. Keep
Wembley Tidy covers Wembley Central and Alperton wards, and it is suggested that
campaigns should not overlap with one another. This approach should be
integrated with the voluntary Community Action Groups.

5.2. Guidance and a code of practice for the community guardians and village areas
should be drawn up and agreed by officers and residents. This should include action
days and identifying and evidencing illegal rubbish dumping hot spots. Village
websites should also be linked to the council’s waste management web pages.

5.3. It will be a priority of the community guardians, councillors, officers and Veolia to
devise and produce a ‘Brent Against Rubbish Dumping Charter’, which Businesses,
HMO Landlords and Estate/Letting Agents will be encouraged to sign up to and
display publicly.

5.4. It will be a priority of the community guardians, councillors, officers and Veolia to
engage with places of worship, youth clubs and sports clubs to engage and promote
the Brent Against Rubbish Dumping Charter.

6. The process of reporting IRD should be clear and straightforward, so that both residents
and officers know what is to be expected and how and when there will be communication
between parties. This should be documented on the council’s IRD web page.

7. Brent waste management and Veolia should liaise with Brent education and Brent
schools partnership to ensure that there is a strategic anti-Illegal rubbish dumping
programme going into schools, aimed at both primary school and secondary school
level. The programme should be continuous and target 100% of schools on an annual
basis, encouraging schools to sign up to the Brent Against Rubbish Dumping Charter.
Progress should be reported on the council waste management web page on a quarterly
basis.

8. Business liaison should be part of an officer’s role; this should include an evaluation of
any non-monetary incentives that can be offered. Brent should encourage businesses to
sponsor a bin or bins, as a result of which businesses will become certified and will be
allowed to display a Brent Council sign stating that they are opposed to IRD.

9. Additional resources should be invested in to the Special Collection Service, so that
items are collected sooner and the number of bulky items illegally dumped is reduced.
Other alternative options for waste disposal and recycling should be promoted with direct
links on the council’s web page and offered on the phone when residents call to request
Special Collection Services such as Freecycle and Freegle.

Enforcement

10. The task group recommends the formation of a strategic approach between Waste
Management Enforcement services and the CCTV service to ensure more use of the
current CCTV provision to monitor IRD hotspots. It is understood that this will require
collecting evidence and providing a supported case for each camera.

*The task group endorses all of the recommendations on IRD made by the concurrent
CCTV task group.

11. Waste management services, specifically trade and Environmental health services, must
work together more strategically; sharing information and working on joint visits where
there is clear intelligence that there are crosscutting priorities.

12. A strategic approach between Housing Enforcement and Waste Management
Enforcement services via Veolia should be formed to ensure that HMO landlords are
educated as to their responsibilities regarding waste disposal for themselves and their
tenants.

13. Enlist the support of night workers such as black cab drivers and night bus drivers to use
the cleaner Brent app and report any perpetrators of IRD. This could be achieved by
contacting taxi firms and Transport for London to explain our case and by asking them to
cascade our request down to workers. The council would in turn be able to release
positive press stories about these organisations.

14. We will look to pre-capitalise on new fly-tipping legislation, to be brought forward next
year, by following a similar model to Ealing Council, as below:
‘The council has teamed up with Kingdom Security to provide dedicated teams of
uniformed officers in the borough. Kingdom Security will work with the council’s
environmental enforcement officers, providing a high-profile deterrent and issuing £80
fines. Operating initially on a one-year trial basis, Kingdom Security is working at no cost
to the council. Instead they will take a share of the fines they issue’.

15. The Council should work with other local authorities and the National Fly-tipping
Prevention Group to lobby the Government for more effective enforcement powers.

16. The selective Landlord licensing scheme should be reviewed annually and reported on
publicly with statistics on how effective the scheme has been, where it has been
effective, areas where the council can strengthen its enforcement and any lessons
learnt.

17. The landlord licensing guidance should have more detail in the wording regarding waste
& refuse, so that it is harder for landlords to avoid discharging their responsibilities
effectively.The most referenced licensed scheme is that of Newham Council’s. Newham’s licensing
condition in respect of waste simply requires that “No refuse shall be kept in the front or
rear garden other than in an approved storage container for that purpose”.

18. Leaflets about Brent’s waste disposal policies should be inserted into the guidance so
that landlords can give them to tenants. The leaflet/insert scheme should also be rolled
out to estate & letting agents.

Impact

19. Further investigation is required into the impact of the garden waste collection charges.
Cabinet should review its effectiveness from a cost and efficiency perspective, annually
until 2018.

20. Owing to the lack of quantitative data to evidence the effects of the garden waste charge
at this stage, officers should review and report the effects of its first year in operation.
Officers should devise logical metrics against which it can compare its performance
annually until 2018.

21. The number of Brent residents that have signed up, and continue to sign up, to the
Garden waste collection service should be more widely publicised. The Brent website
and Brent magazine should be the media for this.

Publicity

22. Future publicity about IRD should be continuous, mainly word-of-mouth and not confined
to one-off PR campaigns. The last major PR campaign in 2013 involved large, difficult-toread
signs under which rubbish was dumped. It also saw photo opportunities to show the
lead member was determined to deal with the issue, but officers confirm that it had little
tangible impact on levels of IRD.

23. Officers, councillors and community guardians need to visit relevant local meeting places
– whether they be religious meeting places, youth clubs or sports clubs – to pass on the
council’s messages about IRD and how communities can work with Brent to tackle it.

24. Leafleting campaigns led by the council and voluntary groups should be in multiple
languages, appropriate to the socio-dynamics of the local area.

25. Any future communications should also be easy-to-read with no conflicting messages.
This should be backed up with targeted local advertising. Brent London Underground
and National rail stations are prime locations for such advertising.

26. The Cleaner Brent App requires further publicity, and probably a re-launch, as not
enough people are aware it exists. There should be further publicity on the web and in
the Brent magazine.

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