Staggering cost of fly-tipping revealed

Councillors Jeanette Prescott and Sam Murphy at the fly-tipped waste behind St Thomas Sports & Social Club, Comet Road, Marsh Green
Councillors Jeanette Prescott and Sam Murphy at the fly-tipped waste behind St Thomas Sports & Social Club, Comet Road, Marsh Green

FLY-tipping is costing the Wigan taxpayer thousands of pounds every year, new figures have revealed.

Figures released by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), shows there was 2,582 incidents of fly-tipping reported to Wigan Council in 2014/15, which cost £126,352 to deal with.

Of the cases reported to the council, 330 were on a highway, 190 on a footpath or bridleway and 1,217 were in back alleyways.

More worryingly, five incidents involved animal carcasses and in 27 case asbestos had been dumped.

But the vast majority of cases, 1,582, by far were classes as other household waste, while 53 of the cases involved white goods and another 26 were other electrical goods.

Paul Barton, interim assistant director of operational services, said “Fly-tipping not only causes unnecessary costs but it is an eyesore in communities.

“We have seen a rise in the number of fly-tipping cases but it is now much easier for people to report fly-tipping to us through the Report It feature on our website and we encourage residents to do this.

“Residents can really assist us in catching offenders by providing intelligence which will lead to more prosecutions. Wherever someone does leave rubbish illegally we will seek to prosecute as we take a dim view of anyone wanting to spoil our borough in such a way.”

The data also shows that in 2014/15, Wigan Council sent no warning letters, issued no fixed penalty notices to fly-tippers and brought not one person was prosecuted in the borough.

This is despite investigations into 882 fly-tipping cases costing the council £29,106.

There was a similar picture in the borough in 2013/14 when there were also no warning letters sent, no fixed penalty notices issued and no prosecutions in the borough by Wigan Council.

The number of fly-tipping incidents has risen slightly since 2013/14 from 2,479 as has the cost from £102,640.

One recent example of fly-tipping to hit the borough saw a large pile of industrial waste piled up outside a Wigan social club.

Councillors Jeannette and Paul Prescott and Sam Murphy how rubbish – including tyres, car seat covers, a stand-up shower and an axe – was left outside St Thomas’s Sports and Social Club, in Comet Road, Marsh Green.

Coun Jeanette Prescott said: “Whilst we were sorting the rubbish, a council officer found an axe. Children play in the area and they could have easily picked it up and done some harm. How irresponsible is that? There are firms that will take rubbish away correctly for a fee.”

Penalties for fly-tippers include a fine up to £50,000 and/or five years prison and antisocial behaviour orders.