Fly-tipping in Blackpool is at its lowest level in six years – but the cost of removing the dumped waste has skyrocketed.
There were 3,424 incidents in 2017/18 – a rate of more than nine a day – down from 4,656 four years earlier.
But with offenders dumping more rubbish at a time, town hall chiefs have seen the bill for removing the waste soar higher than ever – bringing the total spent since 2012 to almost £1.7m.
And the figures, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), show Blackpool is one of the North West hotspots for flytipping. Only Manchester, Liverpool and Sefton councils spent more than Blackpool on fly-tipping between 2012 and 2017.
Four years ago, Blackpool Council forked out £293,811 to clean up dumped rubbish – a cost of £63 per incident. But last year, when the bill came to £312,000, each fly-tip cost the taxpayer an average of £91, an increase of almost 50 per cent.
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, (inset) said the number of incidents vary from year to year and it is “very difficult” to say if the situation is getting better or worse.
She added: “Our message is clear. We will not tolerate activities that damage our environment and we are actively pursuing those people that act illegally.”
Meanwhile, Fylde is one of the best areas in the North West for fly-tipping, with only South Ribble receiving fewer reports. However, the number of reported fly-tips in the area and the cost of clearing them has been growing steadily over the past six years, from 359 in 2012/13 to 623 last year.
In Wyre, just 295 incidents of fly-tipping were reported in 2012/13 but that rose to 2,229 two years later before falling to the current figure of 1,371.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of Blackpool’s Conservative opposition, called for a new approach to reducing the amount of fly-tipped waste.
He said: “I am sure that not all incidents will be due to the tip operating structure but I am convinced that many are.
“Could we not introduce amnesty days where all rubbish could be tipped?
“The cost of collecting and removing the fly tipping from some irresponsible individuals is extortionate and probably will not be recouped through arrests and the courts.”
Coun Campbell, said: “Blackpool Council is pro-actively targeting all types of fly-tipping from single use refuse bags to large scale fly-tipping.
“Most of the reported incidents of fly tipping in Blackpool is household waste or bulky items abandoned in back streets without an attempt to dispose of correctly.
“I would encourage residents to continue to report all fly-tipping incidents online.”
She said offenders would be given a fixed penalty notice or, in more serious cases, taken to court.
Coun Simon Bridge, at Wyre Council, said: “We are proud to have one of the lowest fly tipping rates in Wyre; but our work doesn’t stop here.
“The council have been actively raising awareness of how to dispose of waste, undertaking joint visits with the local policing teams in order to prevent residents and businesses unknowingly disposing waste in the incorrect way.”
Nobody from Fylde Council was available for comment.
Just 359 incidents of fly-tipping were reported to Fylde Council in 2012/13. This rose to 499 in 2013/14, to 518 in 14/15, to 601 in 2015/16, to 652 in 2016/17. During the time, the price of removing the rubbish increased from £19,279 to £28,893.
Some 623 fly-tips were reported in the 2017/18 year.
2012/13 – 295
2013/14 – 1,906
2014/15, with clean-up costs climbing to £160,579.
Since then, the area has seen a steady decline in the number of reported fly-tippings, from 1,839 in 2015/16, to 1,472 in 2016/17, to 1,371 in 2017/18.