Council chiefs have branded government figures estimating their expenditure on investigating fly-tipping “fictional”.
The Observer last week exclusively revealed that Hyndburn had been named the ‘fly-tipping capital of England’ , after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said the borough sent out more than 8,000 warning letters about fly-tipping in 12 months. That was more than double the next highest local authority in the country.
Based on the number of cases it processed, Defra estimated that the cost of investigating and administering cases to Hyndburn taxpayers was more than £600,000 in 2014/15.
But the council today labelled the figures “unrealistic”.
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said: “The costs highlighted in last week’s Observer are fictional and are in no way related to actual costs incurred by the council. The Government use standard costs for each type of enforcement action to try and estimate the cost of fly-tipping nationally.
"For example, the government’s standard cost of producing and delivering a warning/advice letter is £33. This is not realistic to the very small cost of our enforcement officers delivering a letter during their normal day to day duties.”
Further figures produced by Defra this week revealed that Hyndburn council spent £46,693 cleaning up after a reported 1,030 fly-tipping incidents in the borough in 2014/15, a fraction of the amount spent by authorities including Blackpool, Blackburn, Pendle and Preston, although more than others including Rossendale, Ribble Valley and Fylde.
The overall bill for Lancashire was in excess of £1.6 million for the same period.
Coun Parkinson said that the council was recognised with a 5-star grading and also best small local authority in the country from the Clean Britain Awards.
He added: “Fly tipping is a national problem, mainly carried out under the cover of darkness, and I would appeal to members of the public to help us by reporting any suspicious activity, and where applicable the vehicle registration number. Please be assured any information supplied will be treated in complete confidence.”
Coun Paul Cox, Hyndburn council’s cabinet member for environmental issues, said: “I would like to thank the dedicated staff who work tirelessly in all weathers trying to keep the borough clean. It is such a shame that a small minority of residents do not have any pride and think dumping waste on the back streets is acceptable.
“Most people in Hyndburn manage their waste really well and our excellent recycling service allows people to recycle around 70 per cent of their normal household waste. However, for certain items that cannot be recycled or placed inside the grey wheeled bin we still offer a FREE bulky waste collection service. So there really is no reason why anyone should need to dump their household waste on the back streets.”
To report fly-tipping email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01254 388111, or use the council’s online form.