WITH Basingstoke and Deane attempting to take a hard-line stance to fly-tipping, councillors questioned how these punishments would be enforced.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has increased the maximum fine for someone caught fly-tipping to £400 and that the borough has seen a steady fall in the amount of illegally dumped waste collected.

However, at a recent community, environment and partnerships committee meeting on May 31, councillors put questions to cabinet member for the environment and regulatory services, Cllr Hayley Eachus on how council officers are tackling the problem.

Cllr Eachus said: “We take it very seriously, it is illegal and we here at Basingstoke and Deane investigate every report that we get.

“We are trying to find and prosecute everyone that has fly-tipped but sometimes it is hard to find that evidence, but the teams are dedicated to do so.”

However, the rise in reported incidents of 2,352 in the last financial year compared to 1,694 in the previous year was questioned by leader of the Basingstoke Labour group, Cllr Paul Harvey.

He added: “We can throw figures at this, and I find it surreal that we are celebrating that the figures have gone up and there is a reality to this.

“It is good that residents are spotting fly-tipping, but the fact that there are this many incidents shows there isn’t enough being done to deter people.”

Cllr Eachus said the main issue was that there was not enough evidence at times to prosecute people, and neighbours worry about pointing the finger at fly-tippers in fear of the repercussions.

Brighton Hill South ward councillor Andrew McCormick asked the council to do more to encourage people to come forward.

He said: “If it is such a problem with people testifying against neighbour, why aren’t procedures in place for them to do it anonymously?

“Residents have approached me, and they are always worried of repercussions so why don’t we have more robust procedures.”