District’s fly-tipping hotspots revealed

An old fridge and doors discarded on land adjacent to Vernon Road in Heckmondwike.
An old fridge and doors discarded on land adjacent to Vernon Road in Heckmondwike.
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Thousands of cases of fly-tipping were investigated by Kirklees Council after complaints about rubbish-blighted streets soared last year.

Reports of more than 3,000 cases of the offence were investigated by council officers in 2014, with 1,426 in North Kirklees.

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The district’s fly-tipping hotspots have been named and shamed after figures obtained by the News revealed the extent of the problem.

The 10 most litter-strewn streets notched up 181 complaints from angry residents last year, almost twice as many as the previous year.

In Batley rubbish including glass, litter and old furniture led to a shocking 76 complaints about Wilson Wood Street, with business owners concerned about hazard risks and rodents.

Toni Hall, who owns Batley Carr Day Nursery on the street, said: “There’s a lot of litter and rubbish on the street, the bins are overflowing.

I have noticed rodents and rats around the street when I’ve been out walking around. It just gives a poor impression of the area if you have a nice new building and look out the window and there’s rubbish all over.

Batley Carr Day Nursery owner Toni Hall

“I have noticed rodents and rats around the street when I’ve been out walking around. It just gives a poor impression of the area if you have a nice new building and look out the window and there’s rubbish all over.”

The council said it had investigated complaints about the street but could not secure prosecutions because there were no witnesses.

A spokesperson for the council said: “There have been several complaints about suspected fly-tipping on Wilson Wood Street, but when we investigated found no witnesses of fly-tipping, and now believe the vast majority of complaints have been related to bulky waste items legitimately left waiting for collection by the Council.”“We receive around 250 reports a month about fly tipping and reports can vary from a single black bag up to a full vehicle load.

“We are removing the illegally dumped waste and will investigate who committed these crimes.”

Trinity Street, Batley.

Trinity Street, Batley.

In Dewsbury, complaints about rubbish mounds in streets including Huddersfield Road in Ravensthorpe, Castle Mount in Thornhill, School Lane in Dewsbury Moor, Lees Hall Road in Thornhill Lees and Halifax Road reached 61 in 2014.

Ravensthorpe resident Bruce Bird, 66, of Broomer Street, said: “Fly-tipping is a problem in Ravensthorpe and part of it is that bins are constantly kept in the street rather than in people’s back gardens or outside houses.

“It’s not a council problem, it’s a people problem. But until we educate people better and parents educate their children better, we will be in a losing battle against it.

“The actual effort involved in fly-tipping and going to the tip is about the same, so why don’t they just do it the right way. It means they just don’t care.”

Mr Bird said he feared the problem could get worse if councils are forced to cut back on street cleaning services.

Dozens of pieces of wood, plastic, waste pipes, a TV and a fridge on Vernon Road in Heckmondwike led to 10 complaints to the council last year.

Coun Steve Hall (Heckmondwike, Lab), Kirklees Council’s cabinet member for Place, said: Fly-tipping is something that is a concern and it’s the bane of our lives as councillors. It absolutely drives me up the wall, people even throw things out of car windows like burger and pizza boxes. There are bins for that and there’s no need for it.

“It’s time now that the penny needs to drop with some people.”

No prosecutions

Not a single person was prosecuted after the council investigated more than 1,400 cases of fly-tipping in North Kirklees last year.

Out of the 3,112 cases in all of Kirklees, only one person in Holmfirth was prosecuted for the offence.

Two people - one in Huddersfield and one in Batley - were cautioned in 2014.

Coun Steve Hall (Heckmondwike, Lab), Kirklees Council’s cabinet member for Place, said: “The number of people we catch is so small and in a lot of cases it’s the same people doing it time and time again.

“They are either lazy or totally stupid. I have seen three-piece sofas thrown over fences when there is a free collection for bulky waste items.

“I can’t say for sure but as a guess I’d say it costs about £1.5m a year for the council to clean up.

“The sooner we can get more and more people in court and get them fined the better.

“If they have to be named and shamed I’m all in favour of doing it.”

Fly-tipping is a an offence under the Environmental Protection Act and in order to prosecute it requires proof that an individual was responsible.

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: “We are committed to reducing the blight of fly-tipping and making those responsible face the consequences of their crimes.

“Ideally we need a witness, or CCTV information linked to a person or motor vehicle, if we do not have this then we cannot prosecute.”

Figures obtained by the News show that in 2013 two people were prosecuted and five were cautioned for the offence.

In 2012 no one was prosecuted and three people were cautioned.

A spokesperson for Batley and Spen Neighbourhood Poling Team said its officers occasionally assist with enquiries but all prosecutions were dealt with by the council.

FLY-TIPPING REPORTS TO THE COUNCIL IN 2014

3,112 (ONE prosecution and ONE caution)

1,426 in North Kirklees (ZERO prosecutions and ONE caution)

DISTRICT’S TOP TEN FLY-TIPPING HOTSPOTS

(Total of 181 complaints in 2014 about worst ten streets)

STREETS

- Wilson Wood Street, Batley (76)

- Huddersfield Road, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, (15)

-Castle Mount, Thornhill, Dewsbury, (14)

- Hayburn Gardens, Healey, Batley (13)

- School Lane, Dewsbury Moor, (12)

- Dale Close, Batley (10)

- Halifax Road, Dewsbury, (10)

- Lees Hall Road, Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury (10)

- Trinity Street, Batley, (10)

- Vernon Road, Heckmondwike, (10)