Bags more fly-tipping leaves Preston down in the dumps during lockdown

Fly-tipping has shot up in Preston during lockdown, according to council chiefs.

The city saw almost 3,500 incidents reported during the period between April 2020 and the end of March this year, a 12-month period where the country was under some form of Covid restrictions.

Yet despite the authority working hard to counter illegal dumping of waste, only 20 people were issued with fixed penalty fines. A further 24 were ticketed for dropping litter.

The latest figures show 3,469 fly-tipping offences were committed across Preston during the 2020/21 financial year - 700 more than the previous year.

Fly-tipping in a back street off New Hall Lane, Preston.

In 2019/20 it was 2,748, in 2018/18 the figure was 2,821 and there were 2,904 incidents in 2017/18.

“Throughout the pandemic there has unfortunately been an increase in the number of cases of fly-tipping," revealed Coun Robert Boswell, the council's cabinet member for the environment.

"Our teams have been working hard to remove this waste and to follow up on any reports or evidence members of the public submit to us.

"Fly-tipping is a selfish act which damages the environment, encourages vermin, prevents recycling and takes up a great deal of time and resources.

Rubbish dumped in Southlands, Preston, including an abandoned car.

"We have a range of powers to deal with fly tipping including the issuing of fixed penalty notices where appropriate.

“If members of the public witness fly-tipping I’d encourage them to report it to the council with as much information as they have to support us to bring about action against offenders and to keep our streets and green spaces clean for everyone.

"I’d also ask that everyone plays their part by using community recycling centres or by arranging for bulkier items to be collected by a registered waste carrier.”

Nationally the handing out of fixed penalty notices has increased steadily from 23,575 in 2007/08 to 75,428 in 2019/20.

Council staff clear another load, including a washing machine, dumped in Frenchwood Recreation Ground, Preston.

Prosecutions in 2019/20 totalled 2,944 and local authorities seized a total of 418 vehicles from people caught illegally tipping.

The North West was the second worst area for fly-tipping in England behind London in 2019/20 with 115,192 incidents reported. Only 565 of those resulted in a fine.

In Lancashire there were a total of 25,918 cases, leading to just 162 fixed penalty notices.

The worst blackspot in the county was Blackburn with Darwen with 3,763 (30 fines). Close behind were Blackpool with 3,319 (44 fines) and Pendle recorded 3,163 (36). Preston had a total of 2,748 (11), Chorley 894 (3) and South Ribble 458 (2).

In Lancaster and Fylde not a single fixed penalty notice was issued in either borough.

The cost of clearing up the mess was more than £9,000 in Preston. The worst sites for tipping were back alleyways.

Household waste was the far largest amount of rubbish dumped, followed by construction and demolition material, white goods, such as fridges and freezers, and garden waste.