Wigan bucking fly-tipping trend as level of incidents falls

Wigan is bucking the national trend on fly-tipping as incidents are falling in the borough while surging elsewhere.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 7:00 am
Fly-tipping found by a Wigan Council officer at a notorious borough hotspot

Statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed the number of cases of rubbish being dumped on open land dropped by 35 per cent in 2018-19 compared to five years ago.

The figures showed there were 1,696 reported incidents of fly-tipping in the borough in the previous financial year, down from the 2,582 recorded in 2014-15.

The figures put Wigan as the third-best council in Greater Manchester for fly-tipping and one of the few local authorities showing a reduction.

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Across England as a whole there were almost 1.1m fly-tipping incidents last year, a spike of eight per cent from 12 months previously.

Wigan Council says the improvements locally are due to a policy which does not tolerate fly-tipping but recognises education is as important as enforcement.

Paul Barton, the director for environment, said: “It’s really encouraging to see our zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping is proving fruitful.

“It’s a result of the investments made in staffing and technology and all the hard work that the boots on the ground have put in who take a massive amount of pride in their work.

“We have been working hard to raise awareness of the broad range of materials that can be recycled and reminding residents of the simple steps they can take such as checking licences and using reputable waste removal companies through our Good Trader Scheme.

“The decrease in the amount of recorded incidents is also helped by residents who provide us with intelligence for more prosecutions.”

The council has been offering first-time offenders the chance to start with a clean slate while using fixed penalty notices and court action to clamp down on serial fly-tippers and those brazenly flouting the law.

A 2018 waste amnesty and community clean-up in Leigh was nominated for a Best Community Initiative prize.

Each year the town hall spend approximately £850,000 cleaning up fly-tips.

Around £120,000 has been spent on physical obstacles to dumping rubbish at some of the borough’s worst hotspots, while another £40,000 went on covert CCTV and body cameras for enforcement staff.

The council is also looking at whether drones can help to deter fly-tipping.

Incidents should be reported to the council via the Report It app or online at www.wigan.gov.uk