Fly-tippers are being warned: if you blight our city, you will be prosecuted – after an increase in reported tipping since coronavirus restrictions have started to ease.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has received 1,384 requests to move fly-tipping since lockdown measures were introduced on 23 March, 368 more cases than in the same period last year.
But the authority has reported an increase in the number of fly-tipping cases since the city’s two tip sites at Hanford and in Federation Road, Burslem reopened with restricted access last month. Between 24 March and 15 May there were 930 reported requests, around 19 a day. But in the first 22 days since the tips reopened, there have been 517 reported cases, around 23 a day. Environmental teams have been working to combat fly-tipping, issuing 125 fines since lockdown measures came into effect, 57 of those since the tips reopened.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Fly-tipping is a menace that will not be tolerated. We have a clear message for anyone who thinks they can dump their disgusting waste and blight our beautiful city: we will investigate and we will take action.
“This rise in fly-tipping is incredibly disappointing. We have worked hard to ensure we have been able to empty grey and blue bins from households across the city throughout the coronavirus restrictions. We’ve had to redeploy lifeguards and sports coaches and a range of other staff to do this as our own teams have also been hit by this horrible virus.
“We have worked to reopen tips with measures in place to protect visitors and staff. The vast majority of residents have been following the rules and working with us.
“But those who flout the rules will not be tolerated. It is simply unacceptable to dump waste in the city and blight our communities. To tackle this menace, we need residents to support us by reporting instances. We have been told of an increase in dumping from people in vans, and a lot of the waste our crews are clearing is household items – such as dumped bags of toys, black bags, baby chairs, household appliances, sofas and mattresses. This is not acceptable. We need to call out the culprits. We cannot do this on our own: if residents see fly-tipping happening, they need to report it, in the knowledge that we will investigate and take action to help to protect their communities.”
Residents can report fly-tipping quickly and easily via the MyStoke App, or by calling 01782 234234.
Meanwhile, families are being reminded that although libraries remain temporarily closed due to the coronavirus restrictions, a range of services are available online. The Summer Reading Challenge 2020 has been launched, and the theme this year is ‘let’s get silly’. The authority is working with The Reading Agency on the initiative and a host of fun activities and challenges are available.
Councillor Brown said: “We haven’t been able to run the reading challenge in the same way as previous years, but the fun is carrying on online with lots of virtual activities.
“Children can set their own reading goals and families can create their own online profile. There are special awards to unlock along the way, as well as quizzes, videos and games.”
The challenge is available via: www.sillysquad.org.uk, with information on Stoke-on-Trent Libraries’ Twitter and Facebook pages for more news on exciting activities linked to the Summer Reading Challenge 2020.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
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.