Fly-tipping, the scourge of local councils everywhere, could be tackled by eagle-eyed residents who are being urged to be nosey neighbours.
New guidelines include being suspicious of online rubbish removers that are too good to be true, and making a note of the registration details of any vehicle seen dumping trash.
A bulletin to be found on Kirklees Council’s website offers three pieces of advice designed to curb fly-tippers and reduce the impact of their activities.
One warns “Be suspicious of a good deal to take your rubbish away”. Another says “Be a nosey neighbour”. And finally it advises: “Know where things go – and tell other people”.
Under the headline “Can you help us prosecute fly-tippers?” the bulletin encourages residents to band together for the common good to prevent rubbish being dumped on public land.
A key piece of advice is to be wary of anyone offering to dispose of other people’s rubbish for a cheap fee.
“People who run ‘businesses’ to get rid of other people’s rubbish are amongst the worst offenders of fly-tipping.
“This means that the person you found on Facebook who said they’d get rid of your old sofa for £20 may well have driven it three miles down the road and dumped it.
“And legally you could still be held responsible and fined by us. Don’t let this happen to you – check that anyone taking your rubbish has a waste carrier licence.”
Responsible citizens are also urged to pass on information about unscrupulous fly-tippers. Under the headline “Be a nosey neighbour” the council asks residents to report dumpers online with details of where and when the fly-tipping took place, what was tipped, the registration of any vehicle involved, any premises being used and a description of the individuals involved.
“The more information we have, the more likely it is that we can stop them doing it in the future.”
There are tips on navigating “the minefield” of green bins, grey bins, recycling centres and the collection of bulky items and a prod towards the council’s website.
But there is also a further warning: ” Not knowing where something goes shouldn’t be an excuse for dumping it in a park, so let’s work together to make sure everyone has this information.”
The guidelines have not gone down well with everyone. Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt said the message was muddled.
“It’s a nonsense.
“Asking to see a licence is ridiculous. Any rogue trader will say ‘It’s in the office’. The way to check is online, but it’s an Environment Agency issue.
“It presupposes that an elderly person is instantly able to access a mobile phone.
“This is passing the responsibility onto the public rather than the authority.
“As for being a nosey neighbour, no one wants to be a snitch and the council shouldn’t be encouraging it. If you’re going to report somebody you’re not going to put yourself in jeopardy.
“If it wants people to report fly-tippers then a mechanism should be in place for a rapid response.
“As it stands you don’t time the council on your phone, you mark it on a calendar.”