Lancaster and Morecambe taxpayers’ £1m flytipping bill

Rubbish dumped in Littledale
Rubbish dumped in Littledale

Flytipping has cost Lancaster taxpayers almost £1million over the last three years, new figures have revealed.

In total – between 2012 and 2015 – there have been an eye-watering 19,000 recorded incidents of flytipping across the district.

Lancaster City Council said the clearing up of illegally dumped rubbish is a “constant battle” and the costs are likely to be much higher in terms of disruption to scheduled work, investigation, and residents’ time.

This week, a new campaign has been launched to help Lancaster businesses do the right thing with their waste, after a survey revealed that almost half of firms surveyed in the region say they don’t know where all of their rubbish goes.

By not complying with waste Duty of Care laws, businesses risk waste falling into the hands of criminals, leading to environmental, health and safety risks through flytipping and illegal disposal, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said.

Although recorded flytipping incidents have fallen this year, Lancaster City Council said the help of residents in reporting incidents was vital in order for it to take action.

In 2012/13, there were 8,975 flytipping incidents, costing £400,558.

The numbers fell in 2013/14 to 6,341 incidents costing £340,395, and again in 2014/15 to 3,717 incidents costing £228,000.

Mark Davies, Chief Officer (Environment), said: “Although reported incidents of flytipping appear to have decreased in the district this year, the clearing up of illegally dumped rubbish from whatever source continues to be constant battle for the council as well as an unnecessary burden on the council taxpayer’s purse. The costs quoted are just based on averages.

“The cost in terms of disruption to scheduled cleansing, investigation, the time taken by residents to report the crime etc are much much higher.

“Flytipping comes in all shapes and sizes; whether it be a bag of household rubbish left in an alley way, unwanted building materials dumped at the side of a road or an empty crisp packet thrown from a car window, everyone should take pride in the district and dispose of their rubbish responsibly.”

A spokesman for the ESA said that almost half of businesses across the North West had admitted to practices that mean they are not complying fully with the law.

Sam Corp, head of regulation at the ESA, said: “These results back up what we suspected, that small businesses really want to do the right thing but many are ultimately not complying with the law. Nearly half told us that they’re unsure where the waste goes when it leaves them. Dealing with your waste can fall down the list of priorities when busy, but business people in the North West need to realise that they are risking significant penalties if they do not comply.

Mr Davies added: “It is a problem we need the help of the public to solve; not only by disposing of their rubbish properly but also by reporting any evidence of the perpetrators to the council’s customer service team tel. 01524 582491 so we can take action against them.”