INSTANCES of fly-tipping rocketed by 35 per cent in a year dominated by lockdown, shock figures released by Barnsley Council have revealed.
When the first lockdown took hold in March, all waste and recycling centres were forced to close their gates to ensure the safety of others - a move blamed for an increase in dumps being left elsewhere.
Almost 4,000 incidents were reported in 2019, but just a year later 5,254 incidents were logged by Barnsley Council.
Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson for environment and transportation, said: “Unfortunately we have seen an increase in fly-tipping across the borough between 2019 and 2020.
“For the year 2019, January to December, we had 3,893 reports of fly-tipping - still too many in my opinion.
“Regrettably, in 2020, we had 5,254 reports of fly-tipping which is an increase, year-on-year, of 35 per cent.”
Coun Lamb also highlighted a number of hotspots in the borough - all of which are backroads where fly-tipping is most likely to be dumped due to their quiet nature.
“We can attribute a large proportion of the increase in fly-tipping to waste generated from households,” he added.
“Most instances are small and are more than likely to come from a single household.
“Hotspot data shows a significant increase in urban areas such as backings between streets and roads.
“Examples of hotspots are to the backs of Blenheim Road, Castle Street, Day Street, Clarendon Street, Racecommon Road, Doncaster Road and Osborne Street.”
At a full council meeting last Thursday, Coun Lamb was asked if the council would consider getting involved with Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Crime Not To Care’ appeal - something which he agreed the local authority will look into.
The campaign is aimed at the general public to raise awareness of residents’ duty of care when it comes to fly-tipping.
However Coun Lamb also spoke of the ‘historically strong’ efficiency of the council in lowering the levels of tipping waste across the borough.
“We have been historically strong in reducing the levels of fly-tipping, and we will again bring together teams from across the authority as well as external partners to reduce the rises we have seen,” he said.
Council licensing bosses have been urged to stiffen up licensing checks on hydroponic retailers across the borough amid claims that cannabis growers were dumping discarded drug farm equipment in secluded spots.
It’s been claimed this week that fly-tipping cases involving former cannabis-growing set-ups are on the rise across Barnsley, resulting in a Little Houghton Parish Council member urging the local authority to intervene.
Kevin Osborne, who discovered dozens of butane gas canisters fly-tipped on Park Spring Road near Little Houghton at the weekend, said the police should also investigate.
“These are used to extract butane hash oil (BHO) from cannabis,” he added.
“BHO can have a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of approximately 80 per cent, when in comparison traditional cannabis has between ten and 25 per cent.
“This is not a victimless hobby - it is organised crime - and I believe cannabis-related fly-tips should be reported to the police as potential evidence, rather than just being treated as generic fly-tipping by the council.
“In my experience there’s been a marked increase in the dumping of cannabis-growing waste and associated equipment across the Barnsley countryside.”
* 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.