A COMMUNITY activist has hit out at enforcement officers employed by Barnsley Council for not tackling ‘shocking’ litter problems plaguing areas across the town.

Stephen Bullcock, of St John’s Road, Kingstone, sent a photobook full of large-scale fly-tipping incidents to about 40 councillors to urge them to take action.

Images in the book were all taken on the 60-year-old’s dog walking route around the Kingstone ward on the morning of August 8.

“If this is what I’m finding on my morning walk, then what is the scale of the problem across the rest of Barnsley?” Stephen told the Chronicle.

“The council keep hiding behind Covid-19, and spending money on other things rather than smartening up places which are just a mess.

“There are instances where the council indirectly create their own problems - people put stuff in the wrong bins or they fill them until they’re overflowing.

“If the council educated people on how we should use bins and invested in that, then that would save them money on cleaning up after them.

“Some people who are from different countries might not know how we dispose of waste here, and I understand that, I really do, that’s not the council’s fault or theirs but the council have to take responsibility for it and get people educated.

“The council say they are investigating fly-tipping cases which have been left for weeks and months, but really they’re just leaving it longer until they have to get rid of it.

“If they were investigating it, they’d have to take it away to be looked at.”

Instances of fly-tipping in the borough are up by more than a third with 5,254 incidents recorded last year, compared to the previous year’s 3,893.

But council bosses’ claims of removing ‘100 per cent’ of fly-tipping reports within a five-day period have come under scrutiny.

Coun Hannah Kitching raised the issue at a recent overview and scrutiny committee meeting.

“There are ongoing concerns about high incidents of fly-tipping across the borough, and we all understand that the team does its best to respond to and clear incidents as soon as possible,” she told the Chronicle.

“However, residents have raised concerns about the way this is reported the quarterly report said 100 per cent of incidents were cleared within five days, but residents know that to not be the case from their own observations and so clearly this figure has caveats.”

Coun Jenny Platts, cabinet spokesperson for adults and communities, added: “We continue to take a tough stance on fly-tipping with fixed penalty notices for illegally disposing of waste of up to £400.

“Large fly-tips lead to prosecutions, and many perpetrators have been caught and prosecuted as part of our #EverybodyThink campaign, with a number of vehicles used by fly-tippers seized and crushed.

“Our campaign encourages everyone to recycle more and educates people about how to dispose of their unwanted items and rubbish responsibly.

“When we receive a report about fly-tipping, we aim to have the rubbish removed within five working days.

“It could take longer if hazardous waste is involved.

“If the tipping is on private land, we’ll contact the landowner to tell them it needs removing.

“As part of our long-term ambition for a sustainable Barnsley, we will be putting in place a litter strategy.

“This will be developed alongside our communities to educate and change the behaviour of people who feel that it is acceptable to drop litter.

“We will work with residents and other organisations to create solutions to make it as easy as possible for people to throw their litter away responsibly and improve enforcement against littering and other similar crimes.”