Stop campervan waste being dumped in public toilets, councillors demand

The North Norfolk District Council public toilets in Lushers Passage, Sheringham. Picture: Stuart An

The North Norfolk District Council public toilets in Lushers Passage, Sheringham. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Archant

Councillors have called for urgent solutions to stop tourists in campervans dumping their waste in north Norfolk.

With the summer holidays starting next week councillors at North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) have said measures are needed now to tackle the issue after a recent review found the district was being "swamped" with toilet waste.

It follows a series of recommendations into public loos that went before the authority's overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday.

One recommendation would see waste disposal facilities installed at existing public loos and county-run recycling centres.

While councillors supported the measure, concerns were raised that it would not be delivered in time for this summer, with recommendations needing to go before the council's cabinet which will now not meet until September.

Democratic services officer Matt Stembrowicz said separate work was being conducted looking for government levelling up cash to fund the work.

He said: "Even if the recommendation was accepted by cabinet tomorrow the chance of getting those waste disposal facilities in place this summer is limited.”

Victoria Holliday, Conservative councillor for the coastal ward, warned that the levelling up funding was not yet a certainty and called for speedy solutions to address the issue this year.

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Ms Holliday suggested officers look to put in place portable waste collection or work with commercial campsites to see if they will take non-resident waste, which was already happening at some campsites, including one at Stiffkey. 

Ms Holliday said: “We have ditches on the coast being polluted with campervan waste and it’s totally unacceptable.” 

While the committee supported looking into quicker measures for this year, Paul Heinrich, Liberal Democrat councillor for North Walsham East, pointed out that wild camping is illegal in England.

“These vans that dump their waste in our loos are in breach of the law anyway perhaps we ought to be asking the police to be a little more vigilant," he said.

“There are already facilities, they are on the campsites. They are not hugely expensive.

"If you can afford £45,000 minimum for a campervan you can afford a site. People really should be encouraged to do so.” 

Mr Heinrick said the council may be the first in England to look at putting in a facility for illegal wild campers to dump their waste.

Fourteen other recommendations were made by the committee, including:

  • Establishing a cleaning 'standard' across the district 
  • Look into gender neutral facilities as part of major refurbishments 
  • new technology, advertisement and commercial opportunities at public toilets to fund servicing and maintenance and improve financial sustainability.
  • extending out of hours accessibility of disabled toilets in major tourism locations.