Trolley dumping has become so bad Wigan Council has a whole policy to deal with it

When walking along the canals around Wigan it is not uncommon to see a shopping trolley poking from the water’s surface.
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Now, the issue has become so bad that the council has developed a whole policy to fish out the problem.

Part of a larger crackdown on litter and fly-tipping, trolley dumping has its own special action plan which would see retailers put to the sword for these abandoned carts.

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Coun Lawrence Hunt suggested "uninterested” supermarkets should be fined to set a precedent, the Confident Places Scrutiny Committee heard at Wigan Town Hall on October 19.

One of Wigan's many dumped shopping trolleysOne of Wigan's many dumped shopping trolleys
One of Wigan's many dumped shopping trolleys

Councillors were told there have been 66 reports of dumped trolleys in the waterways last year, and “it is getting more and more prevalent”.

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Council is trying to dispel the myth that they will just deal with rubbish dumping for the public, and this is no different – the responsibility of the trolleys is on the retailers.

So when an abandoned trolley is reported, if the council can figure out who’s responsible, they give the retailer 48 hours to recover it, otherwise the council will collect and store it themselves for a maximum of six weeks – at a cost.

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If that cost is not paid, the council has stated it will lead to debt recovery. The cost of one recovering and storing one trolley can stack up for a retailer.

A storage cost of £5 per day, a charge of £50 for the initial collection by the council, and the return of a trolley collected by the council for which a charge of £100 per trolley will apply.

If this stacks up over six weeks, trolley owners could face a charge of £360 – for one trolley.

This new policy has been set up as a wake up call for shops and retailers, much to the delight of Coun Lawrence Hunt and committee chair Coun John O’Brien.

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“I have been in contact with Tesco about this, but they are not interested,” Coun Hunt said. “It is your responsibility, I told them. If we send some fines to supermarkets, that will help I think.”

Wigan Council policy on dumped shopping trolleys now states: “If the owner does not claim or refuses to accept delivery of the trolley, after six weeks the Council is entitled to dispose of the said trolley and recover the associated costs from the owner. These costs may be recovered as a debt.

“The Council’s approach to dealing with abandoned shopping trolleys is to work with local retailers to prevent the escape of trolleys, rather than their recovery afterwards.”