Fly-tipping crackdown across Burnley and Padiham

The back yard in Grange Street, Burnley. (S)

The back yard in Grange Street, Burnley. (S)

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ILLEGAL fly-tippers have struck more than 13,000 times on Burnley streets over the past three years, according to shocking statistics.

The figures, obtained by the Express under the Freedom of Information Act, show an average of 362 incidents of rubbish dumping every month across the borough.

Alarmingly, the percentage of waste dumped in “dirty back yards” in the town has risen from from a third in 2008 to 56% last year.

But the overall number of recorded incidents has dropped 34% in the past three years from a high of 5,658, to 3,736 between 2010 and 2011. However there was a slight rise of 65 reported incidents of fly tipping from last year.

Burnley Council claims to have investigated every single one of the 13,065 recorded reports of fly-tipping over the past three years.

The statistics show a huge spike in prosecutions as the council battle against people dumping waste illegally across the borough.

Only 21 people were prosecuted by the council in connection to 5,658 offence in 2008 – 0.3% of the total. A figure of £5,300 was recovered in fines.

But prosecutions shot up to 110 between 2009 and 2010 with £33,000 in fines and a further 170 prosecutions over the past year with the council collecting £65,000.

The latest figure represents a 4.5% prosecution rate of total fly-tipping incidents.

The council has come under fire for charging for bulky domestic waste collection of fridges, freezers, TVs and furniture while neighbouring councils like Pendle, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley offer the service for free.

But in 2009 the decicion was taken by the council to slash the charge from £17.95 to £10 for up to four items.

Coun. Neil Mottershead, the council’s Executive member for community safety, said: “It’s a small minority of selfish people who are responsible for fly-tipping and dropping litter, not the majority of residents and not Burnley Council.

“Unfortunately, it’s the majority that has to pay for other people’s rubbish to be cleaned up and the council which has to use valuable resources on making sure the clear-up work is done.

“This is about challenging behaviour and changing hearts and minds. We’ve worked hard over recent years to improve the way we tackle litter, fly-tipping and improving our response times but the problem still remains a significant issue for the borough.

“The hard work and resources we’ve put into tackling fly-tipping is paying dividends and generally speaking our borough is cleaner than it was a few years ago. This is down to a number of things. The council works closely with its partner, Veolia, to make sure we have effective measures in place to clear away litter and fly-tipping as quickly as possible. The council also has a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping and littering and a dedicated enforcement team which means that eight times as many people were taken to court and fined last year compared to 2008/9.

“Our tough stance when it comes to taking offenders to court has been recognised by the fact that we’ve been among the top 10 councils in the country for taking enforcement action.

“The number of fly-tipping incidents, while they are generally falling, shows just what a massive task we have as a council in trying to keep our borough clean and safe.”

Hapton Parish Council chairman Christine Pucket-Goulden explained that the village had been plagued by fly-tippers.

She welcomed the figures but said that more must be done to tackle the problem.

“The fact that fly-tipping numbers have gone down is fantastic but I think they would drop even more if the council gave more publicity about it.

“The rise in prosecutions is great news too but we need to hear about it. The council need to publicise the prosecutions. Persistent offenders should be named and shamed. It would lead to more people reporting incidents.

“There is still the perennial problem of dirty backyards. I think this is because of the amount of empty properties that have not been knocked down. There are a lot of different things that could be done to tackle it - some might need investment - but if it stops more people from fly-tipping then it has got to be better.”

She also questioned the cost of bulky waste removal which, along with the closure of accessible refuse centres like Padiham, she feared would drive more people to dump their waste.