York to use mobile CCTV cameras to catch fly-tippers
The use of mobile CCTV cameras designed to catch fly-tippers will increase significantly in the coming months, York councillors have been told.
Implementation of the mobile cameras has been delayed due to the pandemic and staff absence, according to the council’s head of community safety, Jane Mowat.
But surveillance will now ramp up as officers seek to identify fly-tipping hotspots, in accordance with rules set out by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners, which oversees the conduct of covert surveillance.
The cameras can only be used in areas where it is agreed there is a problem and signs notifying people that filming is going on must be put up.
The council issued just two cautions for fly-tipping during 2020-2021 under the environmental protection act.
Executive member for economy and strategic planning Andrew Waller and executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods Denise Craghill backed the move, noting they had fly-tipping hotspots in their respective wards.
Coun Waller said: “I think it’s important to say we can’t be everywhere, every time, but we are actively doing this and where there are successful prosecutions that that is advertised so that people might modify their behaviour if they think they have a strong chance of being caught and fined significant sums of money.
“Because all of it costs the council money to clear up.”
Coun Waller also praised the efforts of officers who have been tackling a recent spate of fly-tipping on Askham Lane.
The pair asked that a report on the outcome of mobile CCTV camera use to tackle fly tipping be brought to a future meeting.
During the meeting about the council’s enforcement policy, Coun Waller noted there had been a “quite exceptional” number of noise warning letters sent out – 689 in total over the past year – by the council.
People being at home more during lockdowns could go some way to explaining the rise, Coun Waller said.
Coun Craghill added that enforcement action against littering and dog fouling seemed “quite low”.
Four penalty tickets for failing to clean up dog fouling were issued in 2020-2021, while no tickets at all were issued for littering.
Ms Mowat replied: “They are the two areas where it’s really difficult to catch a person in the act. For us to be able to take enforcement action we have to actually see the act being committed.
“Because my officers are a uniformed team, quite often when they’re out and about people don’t tend to do things when they see them – they act as a bit of a deterrent in that respect.”