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Ministerial summit hears of Boston's Operation Fly Swat

A ministerial summit in Westminster has been hearing about the success of Boston's Operation Fly Swat fly-tipping initiative.

        Fly tip summit

A ministerial summit in Westminster has been hearing about the success of Boston's Operation Fly Swat fly-tipping initiative.

Jen Moore, Boston Borough Council's environment and sustainability officer, and Fly Swat launch lead, was asked to attend the event by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), called to look at best practice.

Lord Taylor, of Holbeach, junior minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said he was very interested in the project run by his neighbouring authority. He said more than 800,000 incidents of fly tipping were reported in England in 2011/12 and the summit was aimed at identifying projects to deal with the problem which could be promoted and championed as affordable solutions

Other speakers included Shehla Husain, deputy director for accountability and transparency at the Department for Communities and Local Government, John Galvin, chairman of the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group, and speakers from the Local Government Association, London Borough of Lambeth, Kent County Council and Water UK.

Jen told them about the foundation of the multi-agency Operation Fly Swat, explaining that it tackled the problem of fly tipping using labour from HM Prison North Sea Camp.

She said: "Every area has places where there is a problem with fly tipping. The Fens are unique in additionally having mile upon mile of ditches and drains which prove to be very convenient and out-of-the-way locations for fly tippers.

Jen Moore Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window                     "We had an increasing problem with this, highlighted by the works superviser from Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board, who was becoming increasingly concerned about dumped rubbish blocking drainage channels and increasing the risk of flooding.

"Concerns over fly tipping were shared by other organisations and a partnership formed to tackle the problem in rural and urban areas, partly as a spin-off from the already successful multi-agency and volunteer-led annual Big Boston Clean-up."

She told them that, since November, 2011, the Fly Swat team from HM Prison North Sea Camp, has recovered from the Boston area 160-tonnes of fly-tipped rubbish including: 3,116 domestic black bags of refuse, 1,193 tyres, 258 televisions, 138 mattresses, 312 items of furniture, 312 settees and 54 fridges and freezers.

Jen told the summit that benefits on both sides included a better looking environment and reduced risk from flooding and development of a work ethic among the prisoners who also gained skills to prepare them for life and work outside prison.

She also described the educational and enforcement aspect s of the operation.

Jen said it was a feather in the cap of Operation Fly Swat and all involved with it that it should have been highlighted at such a high-profile meeting.

Key Operation Fly Swat partners are Boston Borough Council, North Sea Camp, Environment Agency, Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board, Witham Fourth Internal Drainage Board, Lincolnshire County Council, Boston Mayflower (housing association), Longhurst and Havelok Homes (housing association), Boston Standard and Boston Target.