The cost of fly-tipping on the Fylde coast has topped £1m in the last three years as the number of cases continues to rise, The Gazette can today reveal.
Town hall chiefs have hit out at the thousands of incidents each year – almost 20 a day – that are a “blight” on the area.
The shocking figures lay bare the cost to the taxpayer of cleaning up after the criminals who litter the Fylde coast at a time when council budgets are being slashed.
In Blackpool, where the number of incidents actually fell slightly last year, more than £320,000 was spent tidying up 4,328 separate incidents.
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Fly-tipping is a continuing problem which blights communities.
“We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds every year cleaning up incidents and it is a huge frustration to everyone. We strive to investigate every incident but are hampered by ever reducing resources.”
We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds every year cleaning up incidents and it is a huge frustration to everyone
In Fylde and Wyre there has been a “steady increase” in fly-tipping in recent years, prompting council bosses to search for new ways to tackle the problem.
Cameras have been installed in “fly-tip hotspots” and council officers have been instructed to sift through waste dumped in Fylde to help identify the culprit more quickly.
A spokesman for Fylde Council, where £23,094 was spent last year cleaning up 518 incidents, said fly-tipping is a “serious problem”.
He added: “We have noticed a steady increase in fly-tipping in recent years – from an average of 35 per month in 2010 to 44 per month in 2014.
“We have caught eight people for fly-tipping related offences in the last three years. One was fined £2,000 with a four-month suspended sentence; one was fined £400 and another was fined £200.
“We have issued two fixed penalty notices of £75 each and one of £300. It is a serious problem that despoils the scenery and can be a health hazard.
“Part of the problem is people contracting unlicensed operators who, to save money, simply dump the rubbish.”
In Wyre, 2,229 fly-tips were reported last year – up from 1,906 in the previous 12 months.
Wyre Council did not say how much it had spent cleaning up the mess.
A spokesman said: “One of the biggest contributors to the problem is rogue traders who offer to take people’s waste away cheaply and then dump it. Customers need to check that they are using a licensed waste remover because if any of their waste is found they would be held liable.
“We actively investigate fly tipping and work closely with neighbouring local authorities which has led to prosecutions.”
Despite a slight fall in incidents in Blackpool last year, fly-tipping was up on 2012/13.
The number of white goods dumped illegally also soared from 23 to 564 last year. Those cases alone cost the council almost £20,000.
Coun Campbell added: “The approach we’ve taken to countering the problem is to make recycling easier through initiatives like Rover – our mobile tip – which has been a huge success and been shortlisted for numerous national awards.
“I would remind people that fly-tipping is a serious crime and can lead to huge fines and even jail times for persistent offenders.”
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