What a load of rubbish!

Illegal - rubbish being burned at Isherwood Skip Hire
Illegal - rubbish being burned at Isherwood Skip Hire

THE scale of Wigan’s fly-tipping problems can be revealed today.

There were nearly 6,000 incidents of fly-tipping in Wigan over a two-year period – but the council took no one to court in that time.

A report released by the Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealed that, since 2006, 14,000 incidents have been reported, resulting in only 22 successful prosecutions.

In 2009/10 and 2008/09, 5,968 incidents of fly-tipping were reported to Wigan Council, yet no successful prosecutions were brought against offenders.

And in 2010-2011, of the 2,958 reported incidents of fly-tipping, only 819 were acted on, leading to just 59 warning letters being issued and 88 fixed penalty notices being handed out.

In September last year, Wigan Council announced a crackdown on fly-tippers in Whelley after Wigan Central councillors George Davies, Michael McLoughlin and Lawrence Hunt discovered large bulky items, including a sofa and a burnt-out bed, had been dumped on land at Coop Street, across from Wynsors Shoes and the health clinic in Whelley.

Wigan Council’s environmental services team, along with Greater Manchester Police erected a fence to stop trespassers leaving unwanted rubbish.

And in April last year – after the figures were collated, the council helped to prosecute Isherwood Skip and Container Hire, Cemetery Road, Ince, for illegally dumping and burning waste. The company boss was given a fine and costs of more than £40,000 and a suspended prison sentence.

Sally Wolstencroft, head of Cleaner, Safer, Greener Neighbourhoods, said: “The DEFRA computer systems do not discriminate between a fly tip of 1,000 tyres on a country lane or a big bag left by a house.

“Wigan Council has had considerable success prosecuting high level fly tippers – the most recent being a £25,000 fine when evidence from environmental crime officers was used by the Environment Agency to bring Isherwoods to court in April 2011, and for example a number of £300 fixed penalties have recently been issued (and paid) in relation to persons operating in waste transportation in some way without the appropriate licence.

“Prosecutions are a specific criminal offence in the Environment Act and require evidence which is ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’.

“We are continuing enforcement and education measures and thank the public for their support.”

The Environmental Services Helpline can be contacted on 01942 404364.