Radio news reader and IT business owner Jeremy Kitt is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Thanet Villages in this May’s district council elections. Here he takes a look at the issue of fly-tipping:
Incidents of people driving down quiet country lanes at the dead of night dumping all manner of commercial and household waste are on the increase. As a candidate for the Thanet Villages I am particularly concerned that we find a better way to protect the green heart of our community.
In the last year alone there were nearly 20,000 recorded incidents of fly-tipping in Kent. In 2017, Thanet District Council spent £109,550 cleaning up after fly-tippers, that’s money that should have been spent on local services.
The recent decision by Kent County Council to start charging for the disposal of non-household waste at local recycling centres means that this problem is only likely to get worse.
So what has gone wrong? The current system of fines is totally inadequate. A recent serial offender, who even advertised his services on Facebook, was sentenced to 150 hours’ unpaid work, with a fine of only £627 plus £120 legal costs. That is hardly a deterrent.
Yes, we should increase the fines for serial offenders, but that is not enough. Surely prevention is better than cure? We need to educate the offenders so that they learn to take some pride in their community.
We can only promote civic pride by making Thanet a better place to live, by investing in our parks, bridle paths, cycle paths, footpaths and green spaces.
Every single resident of Thanet should feel that they are a warden, protecting the place. After all, this is the place where our children grow up, and the place where we all live. We need to change the mentality – you wouldn’t tip rubbish in your own home, so why would you tip it in your own backyard?