RESIDENTS in neighbouring wards around Barnsley town centre are calling for action claiming that they have suffered ‘years of neglect’ – after over 500 incidents of fly-tipping were recorded in just several months.
The Kingstone and Central wards are two of the worst-hit in Barnsley and Coun Philip Wright and candidate Steve Bullcock – who both represent the Liberal Democrats – have called for action to be taken.
They believe it is particularly important to target the two areas due to them being situated near the £200m Glass Works regeneration scheme in the town centre.
Recent data obtained from Barnsley Council revealed that in the four months to the end of November, there were 357 reports of fly-tipping in the Kingstone ward followed by 191 incidents in the neighbouring Central ward.
They account for more than 30 per cent of the total recorded across Barnsley.
Steve said: “Council records show that over the last few years the Kingstone and Central wards have always been the worst affected areas with no sign of improving.
“We simply cannot go on as we are – we are encouraging vermin, devaluing properties and deterring investors.
“Aside from all of that, it doesn’t look good and it’s costing a fortune to dispose of.
“More than £250,000 was spent by the council last year so if we can reduce that figure, the money could be spent on other areas to help the people of the town.”
A Freedom of Information request, submitted to the local authority, revealed that more than £1.1m has been spent by the council clearing up from 2019 to 2022.
Costs have steadily dropped since they peaked at more than £312,000 in 2020 but they’re consistently above £270,000.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) figures reveal there were 4,549 fly-tipping incidents in Barnsley in the year to March 2022 – though this was down from 5,652 the year before.
A significant amount of fly-tipping in the area last year was discovered on council land, amounting to 42 per cent.
Of the discarded waste, the largest proportion was household-related which accounted for over half, followed by household black bin bags at 18 per cent.
A spokesperson for Barnsley Council said that the local authority takes the crime ‘incredibly seriously’.
“Fly-tipping is an appalling blight on our communities and I condemn those responsible in the strongest possible terms,” they added.
“We take fly-tipping incredibly seriously and are doing everything possible to clear dumped waste in our borough and hold fly-tippers to account for their actions.”
However, just £520 in fines were dished out by the council last year for fly-tipping – despite more than 4,500 incidents being reported.
Mr Bullcock wants a tougher stance to be taken to send a zero-tolerance message.
He added: “Are the courts too lenient with offenders when issuing financial penalties or community payback orders?
“Do fines actually get paid?
“There is definitely room for improvement here – let’s show more proactive behaviours as opposed to reactive behaviours.”
* Fly-tipping can be reported online at barnsley.gov.uk/everybodythink and information on known offenders can be shared confidentially by emailing email@example.com for the council’s enforcement team to investigate.