Shocking images show the horrific scale of fly tipping in Lancashire as waste recycling centres across the country shut due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Tonnes of stinking rubbish dumped on an ‘industrial scale’ can be seen piled up over the edge of a lay-by on the A671 near a beauty spot in Burnley.
The pictures emerged amid growing calls on the government to re-classify recycling centre employees as essential workers, to help prevent the growing problem.
Fly-tipping has surged as much as 300 per cent as councils warn of a ‘wave of waste’ amid the coronavirus crisis and recycling centres continue to close their doors.
The closure of a majority of tips due to the coronavirus lockdown and social distancing guidelines has resulted in a spate of fly-tipping incidents in recent weeks.
Fly tipping on the A671, Burnley, Lancashire. Councils have reported an uptick in the amount of rubbish being fly tipped during the coronavirus lockdown as recycling centres are closed
Not only is fly-tipping illegal but it also means Britons are taking on non-essential travel to dump their rubbish, breaking Government orders to remain inside, risking further spread of the virus.
In Lancashire alone, 16 waste and recycling centres have shut down, including a number within a short distance of a fly-tipping hotspot on the A671.
Household items such as furniture and rubbish can be seen alongside hundreds of black bin bags, cardboard boxes and even a tyre.
In Lancashire alone 16 waste and recycling centres have shut down, including a number within a short distance of a fly-tipping hotspot on the A671
Household items such as furniture and rubbish can be seen alongside hundreds of black bin bags, cardboard boxes and even a tyre on the A671, Burnley, Lancashire
Anyone found guilty of doing it could face a £400 fixed penalty notice or an unlimited fine (fly tipping on the A671, Burnley, Lancashire)
One bag appears to have got stuck on a tree branch as it was lobbed down the sloped bank by one culprit.
A large banner reading ‘lets scrap fly tipping’ has been hung from a railing on the edge of the lay by to ward potential offenders away.
Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance said: ‘The images of fly tipping, though horrendous, are an all too familiar sight.
‘It shouldn’t need saying that driving to dump rubbish is not essential travel.
‘Not only are you committing an offence by littering, but you are also ignoring guidance that has been introduced to stop the spread of this dangerous virus.’
Fly tipping is defined as the illegal dumping of items.
Recycling begins to overflow at Preston Park recycling Centre in Brighton (pictured)
Anyone found guilty of doing it could face a £400 fixed penalty notice or an unlimited fine.
However, according to the Countryside Alliance, only one in 600 incidents lead to a prosecution.
Between 2018 and 2019 there were more than one million instances of fly tipping in England, with clean-ups costing between £100million and £150million.
A Burnley Council spokesman said the authority is working with Lancashire County Council and other partners to find a safe and effective way of removing this waste.
They added: ‘It’s beyond belief that someone could destroy our beautiful countryside without a thought or a care for the devastating impact this kind of mindless behaviour has.
A children’s baby walker is abandoned among black plastic bags on the A671, Burnley, Lancashire
A Burnley Council spokesman said the authority is working with Lancashire County Council and other partners to find a safe and effective way of removing this waste. Tyre pictured near A671, Burnley, Lancashire
‘This is flytipping on an industrial scale and must have taken several trips to complete.
‘There is no excuse for this selfish, criminal act. If anyone has any information on who is responsible for this outrageous act we want to hear from you so we can catch and prosecute them.’
Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance added: ‘To make serious headway, we need to understand the business of illegal waste disposal and the culture that abets it.
‘Fly-tipping, as most know it, has developed over the years.
‘It represents much more than just lobbing an unwanted Christmas tree, or a bag of rubbish out of a moving car at the dead of night.
One bag appears to have got stuck on a tree branch as it was lobbed down the sloped bank by one culprit on the A671, Burnley, Lancashire
Empty household boxes are strewn on the A671, Burnley, Lancashire as fly tipping spreads nationwide
‘It has become a business and people up and down the country, either knowingly or out of confusion, are aiding it.’
Pictures have also emerged of bottles outside bins at the Preston Park recycling Centre in Brighton. The local council’s household collections have stopped in recent weeks due to the Coronavirus Outbreak.
In the North East, Durham county councillor John Clare, who represents Newton Aycliffe, is calling on the government to make changes.
‘There is a fear that white van men will pick up stuff and tell people they are taking it away, but then in fact are then driving out to the countryside and dumping it.
‘The solution is that the government declares tip workers along with other things like supermarkets as key workers, then we can get all these places reopened,’ Clare said.
A large banner reading ‘lets scrap fly tipping’ has been hung from a railing on the edge of the lay by to ward potential offenders away, A671, Burnley, Lancashire
He added: ‘The safety of workers is cited, but if ever there was a situation where the workers were safe it would be at a household waste recycling centre, when people dump their stuff in bins and drive off again.’
Oliver Sherratt, Durham County Council’s head of environment, said about the Government’s allowances for leaving home: ‘As visits to household waste recycling centres are not included, we would encourage people not to undertake major clear outs during this stay-at-home period as these sites will not be open.
‘Should the restrictions be loosened, we will of course consider re-opening the facilities, ensuring as far as possible that social distancing is maintained.’
Last week shocked refuse collectors discovered open bags of rubbish with used face masks spilling out of them by a block of flats in Birmingham.
They refused to take the rubbish after finding the stack of face masks spilling from overflowing bin liners in a communal storage area for trash.
Shocked refuse collectors discovered open bags of rubbish with used face masks spilling out of them by a block of flats in Birmingham
The waste collectors refused to take the rubbish after finding the stack of face masks spilling from overflowing bin liners in a communal rubbish area
Birmingham City Council said the reckless actions put staff at risk and urged residents to double-bag coronavirus-related rubbish, in line with government advice.
Councillor John O’Shea, cabinet member for street scene and parks, said: ‘I was shocked and saddened when I heard about this and saw the pictures that our crew had taken.
‘It is always important to present our waste in the correct way for our crews to collect it – but in this current situation, it is absolutely critical to get it right.
‘Our crews have the correct protective gear for their duties.
‘Presenting open bags of rubbish with used face masks puts our hard-working frontline employees at risk as well as other residents in their block.
A mattress was among the rubbish strewn in a field in Willenhall, West Midlands, by selfish flytippers
Outside an off-licence in Bermondsey, piles of cardboard and bin bags lie waiting to be collected on Friday morning
‘It really is quite simple. If we do everything we can to stop the spread of coronavirus we will be protecting the NHS and saving lives.
‘A small number of people in this isolated case are putting that at risk – and I hope that making the people of Birmingham aware of this ensures we all put out our waste safely.’
The council made contact with the managing agent responsible for the flats to ensure the situation was resolved so future waste collections can take place.
People are even dumping items outside charity shops – building mountains of clothes and bric-a-brac – despite the fact they are not open.
Many people are using the time – while self-isolating at home – to carry out home and garden makeovers, creating even more rubbish and recycling. Pictured: Dumped rubbish in Willenhall
Recycling bins were overflowing with cardboard in Canada Water, London, as the lockdown continued
A row of bins with each one filled to the brim were seen in south-east London as residents remain shut in their homes
Other shocking images across the UK show piles of waste dumped on roadsides, lanes parks and fields, left to the responsibility of local communities as key tipping sites remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Pictures across the UK shows piles of waste dumped on roadsides, lanes parks and fields following the closure of waste centres.
Fly-tipping is now surging across the UK as tips are forced to close during the rapidly escalating coronavirus pandemic. Pictured, a battered refrigerator lay at the roadside in Ashford, Kent
Much of the rubbish has been dumped on the pavement, causing rubbish to be scattered across the street
Selfish individuals have used the window of opportunity to get rid of waste items while the nation rallies together to tackle the spread of Covid-19
A Twitter post revealed discarded clutter at the entrance to a farmer’s field in the Cotswolds
Sheets of cardboard, boxes and decking are abandoned against a wall in the capital as fly-tipping surges
Officials say many people are taking rubbish to recycling centres and when then finding the location closed, simply dumping it outside on the journey home.
One council says the amount of waste dumped in this manner has gone up ‘three fold’, with West Oxfordshire District Council now urging its residents and businesses not to dump waste in communal recycling areas.
They noted that recycling areas are having to be cleared every day by the council’s waste team, before posting images on Facebook of revolting piles of bin bags, household clutter and a baby’s high chair in the supermarket car park.
** Have you seen fly-tipping in the UK? Email your photographs to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org **
Cllr Norman MacRae, cabinet member for the environment, said: ‘While we have some sympathy with residents who may have quantities of waste building up, we must emphasise that for everyone’s safety please refrain from dumping it in public spaces.
‘This places an unnecessary additional workload on our cleaning teams and is not acceptable at any time let alone the current coronavirus situation.’
In Greater Manchester where recycling centres have also closed and there are fewer council workers to collect waste, fly-tipping is also on the rise.
Heaps of bin bags, household furniture items and cardboard boxes are piled on streets in Collyhurst, Chadderton and Saddleworth.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, said: ‘Further to a fly-tipping incident on Sand Street, Collyhurst, we are currently looking into evidence provided to us by a local resident and will do everything in our power to secure the culprit’s conviction.
‘While this investigation is carried out, the dumped waste will also be cleared.
Scotland is also feeling the effects of fly-tipping, with rubbish now strewn across country roads in Fife (pictured) including mattresses and garden waste
‘At a time when we should all be pulling together, it is disgraceful that anybody still thinks that it is OK to fly-tip in our neighbourhoods.’
Scotland is also feeling the effects of opportunistic fly-tippers, with numerous tourists spots and places of natural beauty now starting to fill up with carelessly disposed waste.
Mattresses were abandoned at a recycling centre in Fife, while household rubbish spilled across a grassy verge at a rural beauty spot on the outskirts of the city.
Selfish fly-tippers are ignoring government guidance against non-essential travel leading Fife Council to slam residents’ ‘irresponsible’ behaviour.
Dawn Jamieson, safer communities team manager, said: ‘Fly tipping is an issue. I think it’s probably been highlighted a bit more over the past couple of weeks.
An entire cooker was seen discarded in a local neighbourhood, in the middle of a public path
‘What we’ve been trying to do is make people a bit more responsible.
‘Because centres have been closed people will be thinking it’s acceptable to be putting out their rubbish and that’s not the message we’re trying to get across.
‘There really isn’t an excuse at all – people are very irresponsible.
‘With everything else going on at the moment, how people are finding the time to go out and go against the government’s advice to make unnecessary journeys and dump rubbish is beyond me.’
Ken Gourlay, head of assets and transportation and environment at Fife Council, said: ‘Unfortunately, in these challenging times when council services are already under additional pressure, the misuse of recycling points and fly tipping are issues.
‘Everyone is responsible for their own waste and must dispose of their rubbish responsibly.
A whole host of items are being littered across the roads, with evidence of Christmas trees left over from December ditched as part of the fly-tipping offences
‘Recycling points are still available at supermarkets and shopping centres, but residents are requested not to make special visits to them, in line with government guidance, but to use them while doing their essential shopping.
‘If your supermarket has recycling facilities and you are travelling there anyway, please dispose of your recycling responsibly.
‘Waste and recycling should not be placed beside the bins at recycling points or communal bins.
‘We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but we ask that everyone follows the government’s strict instructions at this time and not make any non-essential journeys and undertake non-essential activities.
Local governments have insisted offenders will be identified and prosecuted in court
‘We are working hard to ensure that we continue to pick up domestic bins from the kerb, so that there’s no need to travel.
‘We ask that only bins that need emptied – more than half full – are put out for collection to help relieve pressure on our reduced collection teams.
‘With the closure of the household waste and recycling centres, and the suspension of the bulky uplift service, residents should ensure that large items intended for disposal are stored safely away from communal areas.
‘It’s that time of year when people are getting on with garden maintenance and D.I.Y – brown bins continue to be collected for garden waste, so please store any excess waste responsibly,’ Gourlay said.