Fly-tipping service requests in Leeds top 52,000 in just two years

More than 70 calls about fly-tipping were made to Leeds City Council every day over the past two years, according to recently-released figures.

Statistics released by the authority, via the Datamill North website, show that more than 52,000 service requests were made to the authority regarding fly-tipping during 2017 and 2018

Fly-tipping in Leeds.

Fly-tipping in Leeds.

More than 15,000 of these calls – over a quarter – came from just one council ward: Gipton and Harehills.

The council said it would seek prosecutions for those caught fly-tipping and called on members of the public to send in evidence where possible.

Out of a total of 52,061 service requests regarding fly tipping made over 2017 and 2018, 15,006 were referring to instances in the Gipton and Harehills ward.

The next highest number of requests came from Burmantofts and Richmond Hill with 3,720, while Killingbeck and Seacroft was close behind with 3,698.

Gipton and Harehills councillor Salma Arif (Lab) thinks that, while the area does have a problem with fly-tippers, recent campaigns to clean up the area – such as Keep Harehills Tidy – may have increased the numbers of people reporting such issues.

She said: “We did a lot of work asking residents to report fly tipping and they now report it more. People are now aware of how to report it, and that has increased our reporting in our area.

“The figures are quite large, but I do think that campaign has had an impact on people reporting it more than in the past.

“I think the message is getting out that it’s not okay to fly tip in the area. I’m hoping that it will get better, and the campaign has pushed us in the right direction.

“It’s a challenge we are facing and we need to get to the root cause of fly tipping.”

The contrast between areas with the highest and lowest requests regarding fly-tipping is extreme.

Wetherby was the council ward which saw the lowest number of service requests at just 222. While this is still in the hundreds, around 67 times more calls were reported in Gipton and Harehills over the same period of time.

Morley North; Morley South; Guiseley and Rawdon; Garforth and Swillington; and Moortown also saw fewer than 300 requests each over the two-year period.

Despite the high number of reported instances of fly-tipping, punishments for those who are caught can be severe.

Leeds City Council’s website claims it investigates incidents to catch and prosecute offenders and, if convicted, fly-tippers could be fined up to £50,000 and face up to one year in prison.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Flytipping is a real blight on our communities, which leaves a significant cost to the taxpayer in terms of clean-up costs.

“We do not therefore tolerate any form of flytipping in Leeds, and we can and will use every measure at our disposal against those people caught in the act.

“Our cleaner neighbourhoods team work seven days a week to tackle the problem and remove many instances of flytipped waste, whether reported to us or not.

“We very much welcome the public providing evidence of anyone they catch in the act, which can be used to issue fines or prosecute flytipping criminals through the courts.

“Leeds has a population of approximately 785,000 people, with a city area of 550 square kilometres. Like other major cities, the challenge in dealing with flytipping on this type of scale is therefore significant.

“We are currently renewing our efforts to make sure that both residents and businesses know exactly what to do with their waste, so they can avoid any enforcement action being taken by the council.”

If you wish to report a fly-tipping incident in Leeds, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/environmental-health, or call 0113 222 4444.