New powers to slap fly-tippers with on-the-spot fines have yet to be used by Hyndburn council since they were introduced eight months ago.
The government granted councils the authorisation to dole out penalties of between £150 and £400 to those caught dumping rubbish, as an alternative to prosecution.
Hyndburn council has not used the powers since they were introduced in May last year, according to data supplied under the Freedom of Information Act.
Council bosses said they take fly-tipping ‘very seriously’ but have appealed for residents help produce evidence needed to secure prosecutions.
However, Conservative councillor Peter Britcliffe said he was ‘astonished’ the new powers have not been used and warned that the borough is becoming the ‘fly-tipping capital of Lancashire’.
He said: “Every day I receive complaints from people about fly-tipping. If you walk up any country lane in Hyndburn you see rubbish dumped everywhere.
“I find it absolutely amazing that Hyndburn council haven’t used some of the powers to impose on-the-spot fines. It’s only taking the most severe action that will ease this problem desecrating large areas of the borough.
“I think people will be very disappointed to see that Hyndburn is not taking advantage of the powers they have to bring this problem to book.”
Of the 302 authorities with responsibility for tackling fly-tipping which responded to the FOI request, just 118 had handed out fixed penalty notices.
Coun Paul Cox, Hyndburn council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said they take the issue “very seriously”.
He added: “Fly-tipping is a national problem, carried out by an irresponsible few, usually under the cover of darkness.
“Our dedicated enforcement teams are out and about daily, investigating reported incidents, and our collection teams are then also busy following after, clearing up the mess.
“Both teams work hard in all weathers to remove this blight from our borough.
“However, to serve a fixed penalty notice or to get a prosecution there has to be sufficient evidence and we need local people’s help with this.
"So I’m appealing for residents to help us by reporting any suspicious activity, with the vehicle registration number and a description of those in the vehicle.”
Piles of dumped rubbish left near popular nature reserve
Blatant fly-tippers have dumped piles of rubbish on a country road near a popular nature reserve.
Old mattresses, discarded clothes, electrical equipment and building supplies have been dumped and piled up in a lay-by off Haslingden Road near Oswaldtwistle Moor windfarm.
Amy Gardiner spotted the piles of rubbish during a walk around the nearby Jackhouse nature reserve and reported the fly-tipping to Hyndburn council in December.
But four weeks later the decaying rubbish remains strewn around the road verge.
Amy told the Observer that she had often spotted rubbish at the site while driving down Haslingden Road, including tyres, soil and bin bags.
She said: “It’s not nice to be driving home and see everyone’s rubbish scattered on the side of the road because they’re too lazy to go to the tip.”
“They’ve taken to dumping sofas and other household things on the entrance. I’ve been onto the council who seem to be passing it onto the relevant departments. So I’m not sure what else I can do.
“The biggest pile of rubbish is on the windmills entrance which I’m told is private land.”
The 25-year-old added: “The annoyance it causes is once the first person has dumped something everyone follows suit.
“If it’s not on the roadside it’s being chucked into fields where there are animals or it’s on private land so the council won’t clear it up.
“Whoever I spoke to at the council was very helpful but it seems to take weeks before anything is done.
“It would be different if it was dumped on a street, just because it’s on a country, outskirts road it seems to be forgotten about.”
Coun Paul Cox, Hyndburn council’s cabinet member for environmental issues, said: “Enforcement officers are investigating and, as this is on private land, we’re getting in touch with the landowner for them to arrange for removal of the rubbish.”