Wigan Council determined to tackle fly-tipping as data suggests regional increase

Mediaworks and Skip Hire UK teamed up to analyse how much negative tweeting on social media was going on across the country this year and then comparing this to the most recently-available figures.
Rubbish fly-tipped in Prestt Grove in WiganRubbish fly-tipped in Prestt Grove in Wigan
Rubbish fly-tipped in Prestt Grove in Wigan

Based on this, they estimate the North West as a whole could have seen around 40,000 more fly-tipping incidents in 2019-20 than in the previous year and suggest this could be partly due to recycling centres shutting due to Covid-19 and people in lockdown having more time to clear out their houses.

However, Wigan Council says it is confident the borough is on track to buck this regional trend and outlined the measures it took throughout the months of the pandemic to prevent selfish fly-tippers dumping waste at open locations.

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The town hall admitted there were problems in the first few weeks of lockdown when the centres for disposing of rubbish were not open but since household recycling locations welcomed people back in mid-April the problem has retreated back to pre-coronavirus levels.

Paul Barton, Wigan Council director for environmentPaul Barton, Wigan Council director for environment
Paul Barton, Wigan Council director for environment

However, the local authority said it was not satisfied with that and so it had increased the penalties for those who dump rubbish to try to deter those responsible.

Paul Barton, Wigan Council’s director for environment, said: “We have taken a very proactive approach from the outset of this pandemic with Wigan being the first local authority to reopen recycling centres to support households in managing surplus waste produced during the imposed lockdown restrictions.

“After seeing a rise in fly-tips initially after the temporary closure, incidents have effectively been brought back to pre-lockdown levels since they reopened on 17 April with reported fly-tips down by 60 per cent.

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“Earlier this month, the council reaffirmed its strong response to fly-tipping by announcing an increase in fines for those who flout the law.

“We will continue to respond with the right level of deterrent balanced with the right level of education to ensure responsible use of our built up or natural environments.

“Our environmental education and enforcement team continues to work with residents to tackle all types of environmental crime, ensuring we have clean and tidy communities.

“We encourage anybody who witnesses littering or fly-tipping to report it to us with as much information as possible so we can take action.”

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Mediaworks and Skip Hire UK’s social media analysis found a 37 per cent rise in negative tweets about fly-tipping in the North West in 2019-20 compared to the previous year.

Applying that, they estimate there will have been almost 153,000 incidents of fly-tipping in the region in the last financial year, up from the 112,069 recorded in 2018-19.

The figures for Wigan for that year, the most recent for which comprehensive statistical breakdowns are available, show there were 4,957 fly-tipping incidents.

Among the most common issues were dumping of household waste, small van loads of rubbish being illegal offloaded and items being dumped in back alleyways around the borough.

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In total there were 1,747 actions taken in 2018-19, with 122 fixed penalty notices handed out specifically for fly-tipping.

Fines of £1,010 were also dished out to fly-tippers.

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