The practice manager at a Burnley medical centre has expressed health and safety concerns after a pile of fly-tipped waste was left dumped outside a Burnley medical centre for two weeks and was attracting rats before the council removed it.
The waste, left on the customer car park of the Yorkshire Street Medical Centre, appears to have been left by fly-tippers who have for months been taking advantage of the surgery's trade waste bin to dispose of their own rubbish, leading practice manager Michelle Hartley to put a lock on the bin to prevent it from overflowing.
While at first a few bin bags were left next to the bin, the amount of fly-tipping soon grew, which led to rats being seen by members of staff at the surgery. Michelle said that she logged the issue with the council online before calling them a week later and being told that an inspector would come to clear the refuse away.
"I explained that the rubbish was on our patient car park and it was now attracting rats," said Michelle. "Initially it was an odd bag [being left next to our bin], however this increased significantly over time.
"I feel this is a very poor service considering the health impact associated with this issue," she said, with the fly-tipped materials finally removed two weeks after her original complaint. "I was concerned about the time scale it took for the council to act.
"We have had a problem with rats in this area," Michelle added. "The back street adjacent to both the medical centre, pharmacy, takeaway, and 110 Club does get very untidy and it is important that this is kept clean. Occasionally we see the road sweeper, however, our own cleaner tries to keep our outside area as clean as possible."
A council spokesperson explained that inspectors responding to Michelle's original complaint found more waste than they had expected, which led to a further investigation and delayed the removal of the rubbish, but that the offending material has since been cleared.
"We received an initial request to deal with two black bags on the centre's car park," said the spokesperson. "On arriving to remove them, our waste contractors informed us that there was additional fly-tipped material to what was originally reported. This prompted further investigation by the council.
"If we have the evidence, we will bring a prosecution against the perpetrators," they added. "The materials have now been removed."
The rubbish, which included food waste and pizza boxes, appeared to be from a takeaway, leading Michelle to believe that a local eatery had been using the medical centre's trade waste bin as opposed to paying for their own, although no staff at the surgery witnessed the waste being dumped.
"The [trade waste bin] contract costs the practice a lot of money each month," Michelle said. "As a business, we have to have a trade waste contract for the disposal of all our waste and this is monitored as to the type of waste we have.