Wigan Council is spending £4m A YEAR dealing with litter and fly-tipping
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This “huge societal problem” was flagged in a survey taken by residents, businesses and communities who demanded a litter free borough.
In the past year, the council’s environment team have issued 54 penalty notices, 33 community protection notices and got five successful prosecutions in court, all in relation to littering and fly-tipping, the Confident Places Scrutiny Committee was told during their meeting at Wigan Town Hall.
Councillors urged the environment to become stricter with fines in order to deter litterers and boost education in schools to prevent future issues.
Improved "binfrastructure”, enhanced monitoring, tougher enforcement, stronger partnerships with businesses, community action through volunteering, guidance to schools and colleges and adult education are the seven key objectives of the Litter Prevention Strategy for Wigan Borough.
Paul Barton, director of environment at Wigan Council, said: “This [litter action plan] was interrupted by the Covid pandemic. We have had a massive increase across the borough for littering during the pandemic.
“It is not just a local problem though, it is the whole nation.”
Councillors were told that around £8bn was spent across the UK by councils on clearing up litter – money that could be better spent elsewhere if people cleaned up their acts.
Committee chair Coun John O’Brien issued a clear warning: “This council will not tolerate dumping of rubbish. We are going to jump on these people and we will fine them.”
Of the £4m spent by council each year, £800,000 of that is dealing with fly-tippers.
"Landlords are being questioned over matters of dumping in the back alleys when tenants move out and particular hotspots for dumping large household goods are now being targeted using intelligence in order to get evidence for prosecution.
Mr Barton’s team said they are trying to ‘work smarter’ in order to be most effective with their small 14-man team.
They are grateful of their "army of volunteers” who do regular litter picks, but they need “more public engagement” to stop littering at its source, the meeting heard.