SHAMEFUL fly-tippers are continuing to blight beauty spots across Burnley.
An astonishing 4,249 incidents were reported throughout the borough in 2010/11 according to figures released by the Environment Agency.
The numbers also show the North-West now has the second biggest number of fly-tippers outside London and calls are being made for increased investment in waste and recycling centres to combat the problem.
Paul McCarthy, regional secretary for trade union GMB, said “Not only is fly-tipping illegal but it is damaging to the environment and according to the Environment Agency it costs £100-150m. a year to clean up.
“Two thirds of fly-tipping involves household rubbish and GMB believes it would make good economic sense to invest in more municipal waste and recycling centres to make it easier and cheaper for the public to dispose of waste properly.
“However local authorities also need to target fly-tipping to improve their policing of the problem – out of 820,000 incidents last year there were only 2,500 prosecutions throughout England and Wales.”
Joanne Swift, Burnley Council’s head of Streetscene, said: “The reason the figures increased so dramatically in 2010/11 was that we started to include incidents of dirty backyards in our fly-tipping reports.
“We actively encourage people to report fly-tipping so we can act quickly to clean up the mess and, hopefully, catch those responsible.
“That’s why Burnley Council is the second best authority in Britain at prosecuting people for anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping, littering and dog fouling.”
Water supply and treatment firm United Utilities, one of the biggest private landowners in the county, spends millions of pounds every year clearing dumped rubbish from around their reservoirs, parks and water catchment land. The water firm recently launched a hunt for a fly-tipper in Burnley after hazardous asbestos was dumped near the Singing Ringing Tree site, one of the town’s most scenic spots.
United Utilities spokesman Shaun Robinson said: “Ultimately it is water bill payers who foot the bill to clear fly-tipping on water catchment land.
“We are cracking down through partnerships with local police and councils who all have a vested interest in protecting our natural environment.
“This is money which would be better spent improving networks and local infrastructure for public use, not removing fly-tipping”.