South Cambridgeshire district council officers staged a ‘mock fly-tip’ in an effort to raise awareness of the impact of improper waste disposal and to gauge public reaction to the incident.
As part of the stunt, officers dumped a fridge, freezer, mattress, pallets, packaging and bags of other waste at a spot at the Milton Park and Ride, close to a busy bus stop during rush hour.
Officers had hoped that people close to the incident would report it to the police – no-one did – though one witness made staff at the Park and Ride aware of what was happening.
A video of the mock fly-tip (above) is now being shared on South Cambridgeshire’s website and social media to highlight the problem.
The stunt is part of the council’s campaign to reduce the incidence of fly-tipping in the district, with as many as 900 incidents reported in the county each year.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Waste Partnership – of which South Cambridgeshire is a member – joined the SCRAP fly-tipping campaign this month.
SCRAP aims to raise awareness of the public’s responsibility to ensure the waste carriers they use have a proper waste transfer license, stopping fly-tipping before it happens.
Cllr Neil Gough, Deputy Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Fly-tipping is a despicable environmental crime and we are working hard to investigate and clear fly-tips more quickly. But we want to stop fly-tipping happening in the first place to save the environmental and financial costs and we really need residents to do their bit too.
“If you spot someone fly-tipping this should be a 999 call. We were in touch with the Police this morning and despite this being yards from the bus stop with plenty of people around, no one called them to report it – perhaps they thought someone else would. One passer-by spoke to Park and Ride staff to let them know which is good news, but in a village or more rural location this wouldn’t be an option, and we want to make sure people know how to report it during and after a fly-tip takes place.
“If you see fly-tipping happening, don’t approach the people involved, just make a note of what you’ve seen and dial 999 to report a crime in action. If you discover a fly-tip, go online to report it to the council as quickly as possible so we can investigate and clear it up.“
The council estimates that cleaning up a single incident of fly-tipping can cost the local authority or landowner anywhere from £100 to £2,000.