Wolverhampton Council boss labelled 'town sheriff' over fly-tipping reward scheme
Wolverhampton Council has been criticised over plans to hand out cash rewards to residents who report fly-tipping - as its environment boss was likened to a "town sheriff".
A scheme offering £100 to people who report fly-tipping which then leads to a fine or prosecution was announced last month.
Council chiefs said the measure showed they were getting tough on the issue but opposition councillors said they were baffled by the move so soon after bin collections became fortnightly - a decision critics say could lead to an increase in rubbish being dumped on the streets.
Conservative councillor Udey Singh told a heated full council meeting: “After reducing household waste collection services and garden waste collection services, household recycling services and the rubbish tip opening hours, it has come to my attention that Councillor (Steve) Evans now wants to hand out rewards to people who report fly-tipping as if he is some sort of ‘town sheriff’.
But Councillor Evans, the council’s environment boss, hit back at members of the opposition who claimed fly-tipping in the city was continually on the increase.
He said: “The only increase I have seen in rubbish in this city has been on the opposition benches.”
Responding to a question on how much had been spent on clearing dumped rubbish, he said: “Fly-tipping has not increased over the last five years.
"And I am not the ‘town sheriff’ – but I am a busy man. Of course I am. Much busier than the opposition who can’t be bothered to turn up to meetings, because if they did they would have the facts – something I know they struggle with.
“From a peak in 2015-16 to this year and over subsequent years, we have seen a 25 per cent reduction in the spend. That’s testament to the work of the officers and the teams who have attacked what is a national issue. We have also seen a reduction of 31 per cent in reported incidents,” he added.
Tory councillor Simon Bennett then asked: “What evidence is there that a cash reward for reporting fly-tipping will lead to a reduction in crime and not just an increase in costs to this council? Why is money being spent on ‘snitch city’ and not ‘clean city’?”
Councillor Evans replied: “I’ll say it again – a £400 fine. Where does the £100 reward come from? Correct – out of the £400 fine. So I'm not throwing out £100 like confetti to anyone who rings up."
By Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter