£100k cost of dealing with fly-tipping

Just one example of fly-tipping in Wigan
Just one example of fly-tipping in Wigan

The scale of the problem of fly-tipping in the borough - and the cost to the authorities of clearing it up - has been revealed.

Government figures show there were more than 2,000 incidents of rubbish being dumped in 2016-17, with Wigan Council having to fork out more than £100,000 to deal with it.

Altogether there were 2,105 fly-tipping incidents in the borough in the 12-month period, with the data going into great detail about exactly what is being illegally dumped by selfish residents.

Incidents range from waste from homes and businesses to more unusual incidents involving chemical drums, tyres and, rather disgustingly, even the remains of animals.

The statistics reveal the cash-strapped local authority had to pick up a huge bill for clearance and also spent thousands investigating fly-tipping.

The difficulties facing the council in bringing people to account for their actions were also highlighted as the town hall was only able to rake in a fairly paltry amount in fines.

Wigan Council has now slammed the actions of those fly-tipping and reassured residents it was doing its best to get rid of the problem and punish those turning the borough into a rubbish tip.

It also said that since the data for April 2016 to April 2017 was published the local authority had taken steps to ensure more people responsible are brought to justice.

Karl Battersby, director for economy and environment, said: “Fly-tipping ruins our communities and costs us money to clean up. By residents not fly tipping and recycling their waste correctly we can keep council tax low.

“We are taking a zero-tolerance approach to fly tipping and need residents to help us by reporting incidents and hotspots so we can carry out enforcement and catch offenders.

“Our new and expanded environmental education and enforcement team is now in action seven days a week and will be working with residents to tackle all types of environmental crime, ensuring we have clean and tidy communities.”

The figures show the biggest problems in the borough concern the dumping of rubbish from people’s homes with more than half of the incidents, 1,452 in total, listed as “other household items”.

Another major issue is black bags filled with household waste being tipped, with 225 examples recorded in 2016-17.

A further 16 black bags full of commercial waste were also tipped and there were 125 examples of construction, demolition or excavation material being illegally abandoned.

In addition to that 52 incidents were recorded on the official statistics as “other commercial items”.

There were 92 incidents of white goods such as fridges and freezers being dumped, 51 examples involving green waste and 38 of other electrical items.

Tyres were illegally dumped on 25 occasions and, alarmingly, there were 19 incidents of asbestos being fly-tipped.Enforcement officers also had to deal with vehicle parts (six incidents), chemical drums, oil or fuel (two), clinical items (one) and animal carcasses (one). The largest number of incidents occurred in the borough’s back alleyways where 978 incidents of fly-tipping were recorded, while there were 483 on council land and 304 involving waste being flung onto the highways.

There were also 148 incidents on footpaths or bridleways, 108 on private or residential land, 44 on commercial or industrial premises, 17 on agricultural land, 17 on Wigan and Leigh’s watercourses and river or canal banks and six on the railways.

Figures show the drain on the taxpayer as the council battles to stop unsightly rubbish being left all over the borough.

The 1,096 incidents of small van loads of waste being dumped cost the local authority £61,376 to remove and there were also bills of £27,600 to sort out the 240 Transit van loads of rubbish fly-tipped and £9,367 for 323 incidents where a car boot full of stuff or less was illegally left somewhere.

Clearing up the 275 incidents of single items being dumped set the town hall back £7,975 and there was also a cost of £56 for removing eight single black bags.

At the same time the enforcement statistics suggest the town hall has its work cut out to reduce the problem.

In total Wigan Council launched 401 actions in the financial year 2016-17, with 397 investigations at a cost of £13,101 and three statutory notices being issued at £33 each.

However, just one successful prosecution for fly-tipping was recorded where the offender was fined £400.

Since then the council has made moves to ensure more people are punished and said it is hopeful the next statistics will show a notable rise in prosecutions and fines.

To report an incident of environmental crime such as fly tipping or dog fouling visit www.wigan.gov.uk/reportit or download the council’s Report It app.