Cheshire East Council is drawing up proposals for a hard-hitting, ‘no nonsense’ campaign in a bid to end the blight of fly-tipping in Crewe.
Extra officers will work to gather intelligence from the community as part of a major long-term crackdown on offenders.
But it is hoped that a period of amnesty, in which offenders can own up and seek assistance from the Council, will avoid the need for heavy fines and prosecutions.
Neighbours who suffer fly-tipping – as well as those who commit it – would be encouraged to come forward and talk openly and honestly as part of the amnesty, without fear of reprisal or punishment.
The nuisance of fly-tipping is most prevalent in Crewe but the campaign will be Borough-wide and include other anti-social practices, such as dog fouling and littering.
Councillor Paul Bates, Cabinet member for communities and health, said: “Enough is enough and this is Cheshire East Council’s marker in the ground.
“We won’t stand for it any longer and our proposals will hopefully present a sigh of relief for those who suffer at the hands of irresponsible neighbours who dump their rubbish wherever is convenient to them.
“I thank those residents and communities that have been pro-active in reporting problem areas to us and who are suggesting ways of tackling it.
“The amnesty would be an opportunity for sufferers – and offenders - to step forward and tell us what is at the heart of the issue in order to bring this hazard to a swift end.
“We would ask people to confide any concerns they may have around fly-tipping that previously they’ve been too worried to report for fear of reprisals.
“It would also ask people to admit they fly-tip and, more importantly, tell us why they do it so that we can understand the behaviour.
“We really need to reach out to change people’s behaviour – and prick their conscience – and take pride in Crewe, a town that is on the up!
“The vast majority of our residents are responsible people who put their rubbish in Council bins for collection and it is unfair that they should have to tolerate the unsightly mess created by irresponsible neighbours or landlords who cannot be bothered to take unwanted furniture and mattresses to a Council depot.”
The amnesty is a proposal being put forward in a paper to the Council’s decision-making Cabinet, which is due to meet on June 14.
It is intended to trigger a whole series of activities to get to the root cause of the problem of fly-tipping.
Free bins would be given to homes of multi-occupancy during the amnesty period and, for those who flout the rules after that, a ‘Name and Shame’ campaign would follow.
Along with fly-tipping, the town has seen an increase in littering and dog fouling with dog fouling becoming a serious nuisance in some parts of the Borough.
Public awareness campaigns through ‘Dog Watch’ are designed to engage with responsible dog owners to seek their support and guidance as to where the hot spots are and how to catch offenders.
The Council is currently recruiting two additional community enforcement officers and it is proposed that the Council will procure an outside environmental service to process fixed penalty notices.
From September, fines would rise by 60 per cent from £50 to £80 for littering, fly tipping and dog fouling, but the Council is looking to introduce a maximum fine of £400 for fly tipping. .
Multi-lingual leaflets will be dropped through letterboxes and will be available to pick up at waste recycling centres in a bid to reach those where English is not their first language.
The campaign will also target schools and children who will be encouraged to promote the campaigns as part of their curriculum.
Councillor Bates added: “The Council’s approach to preventing environmental crime has, and will continue to be, to persuade people to change their attitudes and behaviour through education.
“However the Council does have a responsibility to protect those members of our community who are affected by the irresponsible behaviour of a minority of individuals who, despite the efforts of the Council to encourage them otherwise, commit these environmental crimes.
“We are working with local ward councillors and seeking their support to implement this strategy.”
Cheshire East has served 69 fixed penalty notices for environmental crime, between April 2015 and March 2016.