This week has seen publicity on Channel 5 and in the Derby Telegraph on the fly-tipping in Normanton centred around the findings of the Normanton Empowerment Team (NET). I went out with the NET on May 14, just before the local council elections ( but a few weeks after the Channel 5 filming). I did not observe any significant rubbish in the streets on that walkabout. The team felt that this was due to a heightened level of vigilance by the local Council in preparation for the elections. I could not assess whether this was valid or not, but the team felt that it was considerably better than normal. Their view was, after the elections it would get a lot worse.
Today, I decided to take a systematic walk through Normanton focussing on the area bounded by St Chad’s Road, Normanton Road, Pear Tree Road, Walbrook Road. I covered most roads in the area over a 90 minute period. I estimate that I walked about 4-5 miles. I judged fly-tipping as being anything which was not in a Council Bin, and was outside the boundary of the property.
In total I found 16 items. There is a possibility that some of the items were placed outside for the Council to collect.I did not approach each household to establish this fact.
The items I found were a combination of fridges, mattresses, cushions and drawers. There was only one location that was a potential health risk which was on Violet Street ( no. 8 on the map) where there were a lot of black bags with rotting household waste.
Those streets which are terraced housing have to place their Council black and blue bins on the pavement; this will always represent a hazard to the public. If someone wishes to follow the official process and request the Council to collect large items, they have no choice but to leave it on the street. The Council process requires them to leave it on the boundary of the property. The question becomes, not one of whether large items are on the street, but how long they are on the street. How does a lay observer differentiate between an item that has been “dumped” and one that has been left outside waiting for the Council to collect?
In the entire distance that I walked I estimate that the 16 items represented about 0.5% of it. I do not believe that this constitutes a major issue. The major eye-sore was the official Council bins on the streets. I saw only 2 incidences of over-flow black-bins which should have been dealt with differently.
Is this a perfect environment? No. Is it similar to a 3rd world country? No. Is it manageable? Yes.
Zero tolerance to sustained illegal fly-tipping is important. Lazy journalism and staged photos from the Derby Telegraph which only serves to create animosity in the community is unhelpful to a sensible conversation on this subject.
POSTSCRIPT: It is fairly evident that the fly-tipping is the symptom and not the cause of the problem in Normanton. Many people are struggling to accept the cultural change in the area, and do not readily appreciate the behaviours that they now observe in their neighbourhood. Some people have moved away, and some people resent it. This needs to be addressed in a concerted way otherwise the consequences may turn into an unmanageable crisis.