THE net is tightening on fly-tippers as a new app is launched to map hot spots.
Denbighshire County Council has begun using the programme in a bid to deter would-be rubbish dumpers and catch those who persist in carrying out the crime.
It is an issue which has few rivals in its ability to rile residents and anger councillors due to the unsightly character it gives communities and the potential dangers posed by an increase in foraging pests.
The authority, which recorded more than 2,000 incidents in the county over the last year to March prompting a number of successful prosecutions, hopes the GPS tracking system – called FlyMapper – created by Fly-Tipping Action Wales, will help prosecute more offenders, plan better ways of combating the problem and discover what type of waste is being dumped.
Kelvin Hughes, senior environmental crime officer for the council, said: “Nearly 100 incidents have been mapped within the first month and already benefits are apparent.
“The map illustrates the concentrations of incidents and over time will allow for targeted campaigns to reduce fly-tipping in those areas.
“It is a fact that fly-tippers have no respect for council boundaries so if the trial is successful and neighbouring authorities use FlyMapper it will be far easier to establish patterns of behaviour by offenders who engage in cross border offending and hopefully provide sufficient evidence to ensure their conviction.”
Waste officers are now able to photograph and plot fly-tipping incidents onto a GPS mapping system in real time using a smartphone app, giving a better visual representation of the true scale of the fly-tipping problem in that area.
Nearly 200 incidents have been mapped since the trial began in June.
Denbigh mayor and councillor Rob Parkes, who has spoken out against fly-tipping incidents in the Beacons Hill area of the town, welcomed the news claiming it could be a vital tool in bringing offenders to justice.
He said: “I think this app is a good idea because there do seem to be places, like Temple Bar, that people chuck stuff every now and again.
“And it costs an awful lot to clean up.
“Now we should be able to crack down on those who do it which will hopefully help stop it, because people often think it’s ok if someone else has done it first.”
North Wales Assembly Member Antoinette Sandbach, who discovered that Denbighshire Council spent £500,000 on fly-tipping between 2008 and 2013 - more than any other North Wales council - welcomed the app launch.
She said: “It is wrong that taxpayers are having to fork out to clear up other people’s dumped rubbish and I welcome any new initiative which can help to clamp down on this sort of thing.
“We live in a lovely part of the world and it’s shame that some of our footpaths and bridleways are used as dumping grounds, turning what should be a pleasant route for walkers, cyclists and riders into a dump and potential health hazard.”
A spokesman for Denbighshire Council revealed “benefits were already apparent” adding: “The ability to produce reports based on dates, waste types, quantities etc will be of benefit for intelligence led intervention, as well as being able to report to local councillors on actual or perceived problems.”
See full story in the Free Press