Council condemned for “scandalous” inaction on fly tipping

Croydon North’s MP, Steve Reed OBE, has called Croydon Council’s utter failure to act on fly tipping across the borough as “scandalous”.

Fly tippers have been able to ignore Croydon Council signs, safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen to them

Fly tippers have been able to ignore Croydon Council signs, safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen to them

Reed’s comments come in response to the latest figures of Croydon’s utter inactivity over the state of our streets, in a report from DEFRA, the Department of the Environment, which showed that Croydon has prosecuted fewer than 1 in 100 reported cases of fly tipping in the latest year for which figures are available.

Tory-run Croydon’s inadequacies and incompetences in this area have become so bad, even the ever loyal Sadvertiser has started to borrow our headlines about the council being a load of old rubbish.

As Inside Croydon reported earlier this month, Croydon tries to disguise its failures in its key functions – including keeping our streets clean – simply by failing to publish them and hoping that no one notices.

For instance, Croydon avoids reporting annual figures for “street litter” and “street detritus”. And while it produces something called “Your Croydon Counts” (not a printing error), Croydon does not use it to report on any street scene indicators.

But the local authority still has certain legal duties with which to comply, and reporting to DEFRA on aspects of its environmental policies is among those. It is through this DEFRA report that Croydon’s failures have been exposed once again. The report can be accessed here.

Council leader Mike Fisher (annual “allowances” as a councillor £53,223) and his majority Conservative group clearly realise that they have been failing badly in this area. Somewhat belatedly, the council announced recently a whole additional £100,000 to deal with the rubbish state of our streets. Anyone might think there’s an election coming up…

But this is not a short-fix problem for Croydon.

Mike Fisher: red-faced over his council's failures on keeping our streets clean

Mike Fisher: red-faced over his council’s failures on keeping our streets clean

Inside Croydon reported in September that incidents of fly tipping in the borough have more than doubled since florid-faced Fisher and his complacent Conservatives chums were re-elected to the Town Hall in 2010. And that’s just those cases where residents have actually been able to get through  on the council’s phone lines to report the piles of garbage left festering on their doorsteps.

We have reached a situation where the Tory-run council’s decision to go to fortnightly bin collections, the scrapping of its street scene programme and allowing its rubbish contractors to monitor their own performance (seriously) have created a perfect shit storm on our streets.

And the figures from DEFRA show that in reality, Croydon is doing next to nothing about it.

Croydon took “action” – including issuing penalty notices or sending out a stern warning letter – on just 108 occasions in 2012-2013 when there were 11,149 incidents of fly tipping. That is action by our council in only 0.98 per cent of cases.

This is not a short-term quirk of inactivity: of 41,753 instances over a seven-year period, there has been a grand total of just 16 prosecutions by Croydon Council.

Those 11,149 cases represent the equivalent of more than 30 episodes of illegal tipping reported every day of the year. And in the six months from April this year, there had been another 5,878 incidents reported to Croydon Council – suggesting that last year’s “record” was on course to be broken.

“It is scandalous that Croydon North residents are forced to wade through litter and dumped rubbish while our Tory-run council sits back and does nothing,” Labour MP Reed said today. “Croydon charges one of the highest levels of council tax in London and yet basic services are sub-standard.”

Croydon Guardian front pageReed has more than once suggested that Croydon’s Tories have operated a sort of rubbish apartheid in the borough: providing more street cleaning in the town’s shopping centre and in the Conservative-voting south than in most of the wards in his constituency, although based on some anecdotal reports from the south, the service is just as bad there – and often negligently dangerous, too.

“We need a council prepared to crack down hard on fly tippers by prosecuting them through the courts instead of pretending this problem doesn’t exist and letting our streets fill up with filth.”

Reed’s latter comment is carefully nuanced, suggesting a proper process, with serious offenders taken to the magistrate. Croydon’s Tories want to bring in outside contractors, a battalion of litter storm troopers, to apply on-the-spot fines for those who drop cigarette butts or chewing gum in the town centre. And all on a special commission scheme for the anti-litter troops, and without anyone getting their day in court.

This will be highly visible and will generate thousands of quid in easy income for the council. But it will not address the fundamental issues of the state of our streets, and is unlikely to catch a single fly tipper.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, Crime, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Environment, Fly tipping, Mike Fisher, Refuse collection, Steve Reed MP and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Council condemned for “scandalous” inaction on fly tipping

  1. Perhaps it might be interesting to find out who’s doing all the fly tipping, catch the blighters and throw the book at them. But of course that won’t entertain the political windbags who would much rather beat up on the Council about the issue.

    • What about the “political windbags” on our council, Terry, who have made a policy of doing nothing about the problem of rubbish and fly tipping in our borough?

      Should we allow them to continue to collect their generous allowances and continue mismanaging the borough’s finances and services, cutting council jobs and reducing services to balance the books while spending £140m on council offices in Fisher’s Folly?

      Or should we, as you suggest, quietly accept that all is wonderful and allow this incompetent council to carry on at our expense?

      • I’m sure there are windbags on all sides of the house. I’m equally sure there are many shortcomings in the current administration. The point I have been trying to make consistently is one of culpability. Some of the commentators seem to blame everyone but the actual fly tippers.

        • And just to add: I’m out and about every day and see first hand the filthy mess that is deposited on our highways, I report it regularly and can say that it’s always picked up promptly, in my neck of the woods anyway.
          My hat is raised to the council workers who day in and day out are dealing with the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous task of clearing the filth from our streets. And you know what? as soon as one lot is cleared another takes it’s place.
          The perpetrators are putting two fingers up to any sense of civic decency whatsoever.

          Rant over.

        • No one, as far as we’re aware, have ever suggested that the fly tippers are being anything other than anti-social, negligent and, in some cases, acting illegally.

          But our local authority is refusing to take any action against the fly tippers, and there is now clear evidence in government figures to prove this.

          This is negligence of the highest order by Croydon Council. But you choose to criticise those who highlight this. How odd.

  2. Did Steve Reed get his numbers right this time? Absolutely no chance of that. When I complain the council is quite willing to clear fly tipping. Thanks to Cllr Phil Thomas even recently I was able to get the council to clear rubbish.

    What is the rubbish chairman (Steve appointed some one) doing about it?

    Perhaps it’s time to clear out some inactive Labour councillors and bring in some new faces.

    This is what you get when you let in more immigrants into this country. They treat this country like where they used to live and don’t integrate. Spitting, fly tipping, gang fights, ghettos and what more can we expect?

  3. Waste, refuse and fly tipping IS a borough wide issue and something needs to be done about it. I’m not sure Steve Reed’s Croydon North Street Commission will achieve much more than petty political point scoring.We need this issue addressed right across the borough.

  4. davidcallam says:

    Elizabeth has grasped the nettle in this case.

    This is a wider problem than just one constituency, but at least Steve Reed is highlighting it.

    As for Patrick, he’s just the usual sad Tory looking to distract criticism by playing the race card: not clever Patrick.

    • David how can I play a race card? I am an immigrant myself. I came to this country in 1987 as an asylum seeker (The Tories use the word illegal immigrants). I am a very poor man and yet I don’t live the way some immigrants do in West Croydon and Thorntonheath. I agree that it is a wider problem. That doesn’t meant we have to sit and watch immigrants taking over Great Britain and making it look like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Africa.

      There are two types of immigrants. Some want to integrate and be British and the others don’t want to change at all.

      As for criticism of the council it is easy for the labour party members to be in opposition and criticise. What did they do when they were in power? Are you trying to say that Lambeth was the cleanest borough under Steve Reed’s leadership?

      My experience with the council on this issue has been good. If the traders in West Croydon have any issues about rubbish they can go to the business hub in CVA rather than dumping rubbish on the pavement.

      The next thing the lefties would probably want is Sharia law to deal with fly tipping.

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