JUST one person was successfully prosecuted for fly-tipping by Barnsley Council over a 12-month period despite 4,600 reports being recorded, the Chronicle can reveal.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows 28 people were identified for playing a role in fly-tipping by council enforcement teams.

Paul Castle, service director for environment and transport, confirmed that only one was prosecuted amid spiralling cases.

Only £520 was clawed back in fixed penalty notices, despite huge clean-up costs topping £200,000 per year.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy said the high level of fly-tipping is a ‘tragedy’ to the environment and to communities whose local areas have been blighted by often large-scale dumps.

A significant amount of fly-tipping in Barnsley was discovered on council land - totalling 42 per cent - and a quarter was recovered from footpaths and bridleways.

Of the discarded waste, the largest proportion was household waste - 51 per cent - followed by household black bin bags.

David Renard, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said fly-tipping is not just an eyesore for residents, but a serious environmental and public health risk and urged for more - and stiffer - punishments to be handed to offenders.

He added: “Councils are working tirelessly to counter the thousands of incidents every year and are determined to crack down on the problem.

“However, penalties handed down from prosecution fail to match the severity of the offence committed.

“We continue to urge the government to review sentencing guidelines for fly-tipping so that offenders are given bigger fines for more serious offences to act as a deterrent."

Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, assured residents that a pandemic-induced court backlog with offenders is now being addressed.

“Fly-tipping is an appalling blight on our communities and I condemn those responsible in the strongest possible terms," he said.

“We take fly-tipping incredibly seriously and are doing everything possible to clear dumped waste in our borough and bring fly-tippers to justic - I'd like to thank our Neighbourhood Service and Safer Neighbourhoods Teams for their efforts on this.

“As the courts were closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, this resulted in a backlog of cases, therefore, the recommendation from central government was for most fly-tipping cases to be dealt with by issuing a fixed penalty notice rather than full prosecution.

"This is what we have done in the vast majority of cases, meaning those who illegally dump their rubbish are still held to account for their actions.

“We have issued more than 2,500 notices for environmental offences in the last 12 months, including fly-tipping.

"We’ve also seized seven vehicles for their involvement, crushing two of them. My message to those who continue to fly-tip in our beautiful borough is simple and clear: you will be held to account.

“Thankfully, the courts are now in a better position to start prosecuting offenders again and we currently have 11 fly-tipping cases that we are looking to prosecute via the courts.”