Time for us all to take pride in our home turf / Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
Over the past few weeks, I have been working my way round the borough meeting ward councillors to address issues residents raise with them.
We have discussed a wide range of topics, including anti-social behaviour, highways and social housing. What has become clear is that by working collaboratively with partners, including Lancashire County Council, the police and Calico we are able to achieve long term sustainable solutions.
The issue common to all discussions to date is fly tipping. Council contractors work extremely hard, as do our Street Scene officers, to provide the best possible service for our residents; but, in some areas, we have found that no matter what amount of resource we put in, no significant environmental benefit is achieved.
It is not a lack of will from council staff but a lack of collaboration and cooperation from some residents and this affects swathes of our town, villages and surrounding green spaces.
A small minority, often repeat offenders, continue to litter our streets with sweet and biscuit wrappers, plastic and glass bottles, general food waste and dump dangerous building waste and bulky items in our countryside.
Fly tipping, despite our apparent desperation to be environmentally aware, continues to be the bane of our borough. Having been out with our crews, I have seen how hard they work and, after a cleanse, the streets are spotless.
Typically, within hours, the black bags and bulky items, the sweet wrappers, crisp packets and bottles return. It is soul destroying to know there are residents that just don't care or take pride in their neighbourhoods and to know these funds could be better spent on making further improvements to the service.
This is not a victimless crime – it costs the taxpayer and landowners thousands of pounds and, in our rural areas the welfare of stock, our rivers and streams, our flora and fauna are put at risk.
Whether it is putting food out for birds, a single black bag or a washing machine; it is fly tipping. Not only does the waste attract vermin and risk spreading disease, it is unsightly and poisons our rural and urban environment.
Making sure our waste is responsibly disposed of is everyone's duty. We owe it to our neighbours, our communities, our borough, to make it the best we can. Paying Council Tax does not negate individual responsibility to dispose of any and all rubbish in a proper way.
Lancashire County Council's household recycling centre is open and free to use. The council operates a bulky waste scheme which is very competitively priced and if residents need refuse or recycling equipment it can easily be ordered online, there is simply no excuse for littering or fly tipping.
Those using private contractors could be contributing to the pollution of our environment and risk prosecution.
Double check when handing over cash that you are using licensed providers who are up to date with waste disposal rules.