BOLTON has been praised for the way it has tackled the scourge of fly-tipping across the borough in a new report. Peter Devine finds out more.

BOLTON Council has been singled out for its "zero tolerance" approach in a report published this week, which looks at the problem of fly-tipping across Greater Manchester – though it says there are still challenges ahead.

The report into the full cost of what is termed ‘waste crime’ in Greater Manchester, reveals there were almost 53,000 separate incidents of fly-tipping reported by the local authorities in the 10 boroughs in 2016/17, equating to 144 incidents per day.

The research also calculated that on top of the nearly £4.9 million it costs the councils for clearance and enforcement, there is a further £750,000 because the fly-tipped material can’t be recycled.

The report, commissioned by Manchester-based start-up Dsposal and supported by GC Business Growth Hub, researchers Beasley Associates and RGR, details that Bolton Council dealt with a total of 2,065 incidents of fly-tipping in 2016/2017, which amounted to more than 962 tonnes dumped.

It says: “Whilst a spend of just over £200,000 is not something that any authority wants to be making in clearing up the mess left by others, Bolton is seeing real progress in the war against fly-tipping and compared to previous years there has been a significant reduction in the number of incidents they have had to deal with.

“One of the reasons for this change has been the adoption of a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping through concerted education and enforcement actions. This has had a direct impact on the total number of fly-tipping incidents which have been steadily reducing, and clearly the authority has benefited from reduced costs normally associated with investigation, clean-up, and disposal.”

Staff have been recruited from existing council employees. Five teams of three officers have been put in place to work across Bolton and proactively target fly-tipping. Each team has a lead enforcement officer whilst the other two members focused on education, awareness raising and clean-up.

Another aspect of the research showed that a majority of adults in Greater Manchester were not actually aware of their full legal responsibilities.

To that end, as well as analysing the data from local authorities, the researchers scanned the classified ads in Greater Manchester local newspapers for rubbish clearance services.

An online survey carried out by YouGov of 501 adults in Greater Manchester on behalf of Dsposal found that 49 per cent were completely unaware that rubbish clearance services were legally required to possess a waste carrier’s licence, with 65 per cent of those aged 18-34 unaware of the need for a licence.

Many campaigns aimed at preventing fly-tipping focus on the need for residents to check that rubbish clearance services are properly licensed. The research, however, highlights that it is not always easy for members of the public to comply, even if they know they have a legal obligation to check.

The report adds: “From the review of local authorities, it is evident that they are responding to this challenge, however the difficulty appears to be getting the problem under control to any sort of manageable level and utilising the level of resources available.”