Council to clamp down on environmental crime

PUBLISHED: 13:22 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 13:22 11 June 2010

A BID to clamp down on fly-tipping, ­graffiti and other 'environmental crime' will be launched this week as the district council prepares to put its seal of approval on new enforcement guidelines.

"Left unchecked, what seem like minor ­problems can escalate, blighting areas and ­causing more fundamental issues for the local community."

Liz Knox, ECDC

They are being introduced in response to a reported rise in incidents of environmental crime in the district.

It is hoped the new rules will allow the council to take a tougher stance with offenders.

Liz Knox, head of environmental services at the district council, said: “It is important that the council tackles issues such as fly-tipping, ­abandoned vehicles and graffiti before they blight an area.

“Left unchecked, what seem like minor ­problems can escalate, blighting areas and ­causing more fundamental issues for the local community.

“This is why our strategy aims to deal with issues quickly and effectively by working with local people and our partners to ensure we use the right response at the right time.”

Complaints of increased levels of fly-tipping and graffiti led the council to employ a “clean neighbourhoods enforcement officer” for a two-year period starting in April last year.

The officer was employed to target ­offenders and help to deal with reported incidents of ­environmental crime, including abandoned vehicles.

To support the officer in the role and to reduce the risk of people claiming they had been ­targeted unfairly, officers decided to draft the enforcement policy for approval by councillors.

After a brief consultation period between December 2009 and January 2010 the ­document was formally drafted and submitted for consideration. ­

The guidelines aim to set out what legal action the council is entitled to take against offenders, including issuing warnings, fixed penalties and even ASBOs.

A decision on whether the document will be officially adopted is expected today (Thursday), at a meeting of the council’s environment and transport committee.

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