Fly-tipping blight on the rise

Fly tipping at Colliery Lane, Atherton
Fly tipping at Colliery Lane, Atherton

INCIDENTS of fly-tipping in the borough are on the rise yet only a handful of people have been prosecuted, shock figures reveal.

Statistics released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act show there were 2,739 incidents of illegal rubbish-dumping in 2014, a sharp jump from 2,429 in 2013 and 2,485 in 2012.

However, hardly anyone has been brought before the courts for the crime and the number of prosecutions is going down, with just three people pursued in 2014-15 compared to four the previous year and five the year before that.

But the figures on prosecutions do not include the fixed penalty notices or cautions given out for low-level offences such as dropping cigarette butts.

Wigan Council deputy chief executive Paul McKevitt said: “We have seen a rise in the number of fly-tipping cases in 2014 but this can be put down to in part by making it easier for people to report fly-tipping through the Report It feature on our website.

“It is often very difficult to trace the perpetrators of fly-tipping which is why prosecution rates are not as high as we would like but we endeavour to try to identify culprits where possible.

“For this we also rely on the help of the public by reporting fly-tipping and any information they may have to help trace them.”

The figures show Wigan suffers from higher levels of fly-tipping compared to some other North West boroughs and is also one of comparatively few places where incident numbers are going up.

Stockport recorded 1,806 incidents in 2014-15, down from 1,909 in 2013-14, while in neighbouring West Lancashire there were just 844 cases of fly-tipping in 2014-15.

In the same 12-month period there were 1,501 incidents in St Helens, 1,285 in Oldham and 1,812 in Preston, though Rochdale has a much bigger problem with the issue than Wigan with an enormous 4,458 cases recorded. Fly-tipping incidents should be reported to the council at www.wigan.gov.uk or on the Report It app available on iPhone and Android phones.