Civic leaders are warning that fly-tipping will not be tolerated and pubs must adhere to coronavirus restrictions.
The warning comes as Stoke-on-Trent City Council has issued 34 fines for fly-tipping since 27 March, and has seen the number of incidents increase by 25 per cent on the same period last year. The authority is also writing to all pubs across the city and will operate a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any found to be holding a lock in, after receiving 54 complaints about 31 pubs since coronavirus legislation came into force last month.
Council environmental enforcement officers have issued fines after finding household waste, baths, mattresses, fridges and rubble dumped and blighting locations across the city including in Redhills Road, Milton; Coseley Street and Kirk Street, Smallthorne; Scott Lidgett Road, Middleport; and King William Street, Tunstall. In one instance, council crews have returned to Rushton Road, Cobridge on three occasions after residents filled back alleys of properties with dumped waste.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We know that these are difficult times for everyone, but it in no way excuses this dreadful behaviour. Let me be clear: fly-tipping is a blight on communities, it will not be tolerated. We urge anyone who witnesses it taking place to report it and we will take action where appropriate.
“If people have items that they want to get rid of, we ask please, to have a little patience and keep hold of them for now. If you are thinking about transferring your waste to someone else to dispose of, the law says that you must make reasonable checks to ensure they are licenced and will dispose of the waste lawfully. These are unprecedented times. We are closely following government guidance, tips across the country are closed and travelling to a tip is currently classed as a non-essential journey. We understand the difficulties this may pose on residents and we are reviewing this on a daily basis. Please bear with us, as we continue to work through these exceptional circumstances.”
Council trading standards teams are writing out to pubs across the city warning them that they must stay closed, unless they have specific ‘off sales’ conditions on their licence which means they can supply alcohol providing they meet social distancing guidelines. If they flout the guidelines, they can be prosecuted, can receive a £70 fine and/or lose both the licence for the premises and the licensee’s personal licence. Pubs are advised that any customers would also be flouting restrictions, and may face the potential for police action.
Councillor Brown said: “We take all complaints from members of the public extremely seriously and have acted on them and carried out our own proactive visits since the national legislation came into force. We haven’t found any premises breaking the legislation on our visits, however, we will be stepping up monitoring and will take a zero tolerance approach if any pub is found to be holding a lock in.
“The national regulations are in place to protect us all and to stop the spread of this horrible virus. We must all stay at home and save lives. The vast majority of residents and businesses are heeding the regulations and I’d like to thank people for continuing to do this and to remain vigilant and follow the guidelines as we move into the weekend.”
Meanwhile councillor Brown and Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, the authority’s director of adult social care, health, integration and wellbeing, will hold a Facebook Live session next Tuesday (21 April) at 4pm. The session, which will take place on the authority’s corporate Facebook channel, @SoTCityCouncil, will be the chance for residents to hear about how the council is responding to the coronavirus, receive an update on services that are running and support available, and to ask questions about council services. More details will appear on the council’s Facebook pages. If residents have questions they would like to ask, they are encouraged to email them to email@example.com or leave them on the council’s Facebook page @sotcitycouncil.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.