Huge fall in Wigan litter fines

Rubbish dumped in Pemberton
Rubbish dumped in Pemberton

Fixed penalty notice income - for everything from littering to dog fouling - has dropped from more than £70,000 to just over £2,000 over the past three years.

But council bosses in Wigan say that since 2015-16 they have been favouring ‘education’ over ‘enforcement’ in their battle to keep the borough’s streets clean.

Back then the council issued 2,213 notices for littering, over the course of a year, and 107 for dog fouling, resulting in income of £75.460.

This dropped to 130 for littering, in 2016-17, 25 for dog fouling and 22 for fly-tipping, recouping £6,640, according to a Freedom of Information Act request.

And for the last full financial year, the rate had fallen to 16 for littering, nine for dog fouling, three relating to commercial and domestic waste, and six for fly-tipping, returning £1,870.

It was in 2015-16 that the council terminated its controversial enforcement contract with the private firm 3GS.

Under the ‘education first’ approach, the authority undertakes a number of marketing campaigns, through the year, to inform residents of how to dispose of their waste properly.

For example, if there is a build-up of waste in a certain residential area, this could be because people are not recycling correctly, according to council officials, who then may conduct a waste audit or offer one-to-one advice.

Paul Barton, director for environment at Wigan Council, said: “As part of The Deal, the more people recycle and dispose of waste correctly the more money the council saves helping it to keep council tax low.

“We’re committed to educating in the first instance as opposed to enforcement, meaning that we will always work with residents to educate them around environmental crime and to ensure they understand how to properly dispose of their waste.

“We introduced an environmental enforcement team to tackle all types of environmental crime including fly tipping, littering and dog fouling.

“The team now works seven days a week so they are able to deal with issues over the weekend.

“They are also utilising CCTV cameras which will further help them to gather evidence to catch offenders.

“We remain committed to having a clean and tidy borough and are pleased our work to reduce environmental crime is having a positive impact.

“We would encourage residents to keep reporting incidents to us so we can continue this work.

“It costs us money to clean up our communities and remove fly tipping.

“As part of The Deal, by residents not fly tipping and disposing of their waste correctly we can continue to fund essential front line

services.”