Figures show St Helens hit by five fly-tipping incidents every day

In St Helens, there were 2,005 fly-tipping incidents in the 12 months to March
In St Helens, there were 2,005 fly-tipping incidents in the 12 months to March
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There are five fly-tipping incidents every day on average in St Helens, figures show.

Data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has revealed the scale of the "epidemic" facing councils across the country, with almost one million incidents recorded in England in 2017-18.

In St Helens, there were 2,005 fly-tipping incidents in the 12 months to March.

This was an increase of 104 per cent from five years ago, when there were 984.

Across England, fly-tipping increased by 40 per cent over the same period.

Tipping incidents in St Helens most commonly involved volumes of waste that were the equivalent of a van load.

However, the area is also seeing increasing numbers of large-scale tips, involving a lorry load of rubbish or more.

The Local Government Association, which represents local authorities, said councils were determined to "end the scourge" of fly-tipping.

Councillor Martin Tett, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: "This new analysis shows the scale of the fly-tipping epidemic we face in this country.

"Fly-tipping is unsightly and unacceptable environmental vandalism.

"It’s an absolute disgrace for anyone to think that they can use the environments in which our residents live as a repository for litter."

The most common type of waste dumped in St Helens was household waste, which accounted for 1,242 incidents, followed by black bags of household rubbish and construction or DIY waste.

The majority of fly-tipping sites - 69 per cent of them - were on Back Alleyway Incidents.

Clearing up the rubbish and taking action against perpetrators is estimated to have cost the council around £316,400 last year.

Councils can take a range of actions against fly-tipping, from sending warning letters to launching prosecutions.

Last year the council took action on 4,482 occasions, up from 2,158 in 2012-13.

These included launching 2,005 investigations, sending out 1,245 warning letters, issuing four penalty notices, and undertaking 1,188 inspections.

It also carried out one prosecution, resulting in a fine worth £250.

"Councils are determined to protect local environments," Coun Tett continued.

"New fixed penalty notice powers from the Government will help but every single conviction for more serious fly-tipping offences still results in council taxpayers having to pick up the bill.

“We need to make sure that when councils take offenders to court, a faster, more effective legal system ensures that serious fly-tipping offences result in hard-hitting fines."

Last year, overall fly-tipping incidents in England fell slightly by around 1% - the first fall for five years.

However, large-scale tips increased by 9% over the same period.

Since 2012-13, the number of actions taken by councils has risen by 16%.

A spokesman for Defra said: “The figures show our tough actions to crack down on fly-tippers are delivering results.

“Councils are using powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers to good effect, and we have made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized.

“New fixed penalty notices for householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper also come into force shortly, as we continue our efforts to crack down on those who blight our landscapes.”