1,000 more complaints of fly-tipping have been reported during the coronavirus pandemic compared to the same time period in 2019.
Between March 23 and September 28 the city council’s environmental crime team has responded to 3,672 fly-tipping reports. 187 Fixed Penalty Notices for waste offences have been issued during this period. 45 prosecution cases are under investigation and one vehicle has been seized.
The figures were revealed following an overnight report of rubbish inside an old trailer being dumped in Shelton. An investigation is now underway to understand who abandoned the waste after an address was found in the trailer.
Cllr Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “We know the vast majority of our residents are as sick and tired of fly-tipping in the city as we are. It is a blight on our city. There are so many legal ways that rubbish can be disposed of and the majority of these were available during the coronavirus period so there really is no excuse for this disgusting behaviour. What’s even more frustrating is that we are seeing so much general household waste that could easily be placed in wheelie bins and the weekly household waste collections.
The trailer being dumped is part of a national trend happening up and down the country – but no matter what form this fly-tipping comes in we will be hot on the heels of the culprits. We have a zero tolerance to fly-tipping and will always use the full force of the law when we find evidence. We hope this gives the public confidence to keep reporting fly-tipping to us as we continue to gather information and intelligence so we can make sure people pay for their actions.”
Residents can report fly-tipping quickly and easily via the MyStoke App, on www.stoke.gov.uk or by calling 01782 234234.
Work is continuing to crack down on those businesses not following guidance across the city including responding to complaints from residents. This week the council is writing letters reminding licensees, hairdressers and barbers in the city of the importance of following all guidance and new legislation including the requirement to collect details for test and trace
Warnings have also been issued by the council to pubs, a hostel and a bingo hall for not following social distance guidelines as well as to barbers and a tattooist for not wearing PPE. Four prohibition notices to close have also been served to massage parlours in the city.
Officers will continue to monitor these businesses and others across the city. If premises do not follow covid-secure measures, it will not be tolerated and action will be taken.
Cllr Brown continued: “We would like to thank the vast majority of businesses for pulling out all the stops to keep their customers and communities safe. However, we are seeing evidence that a small number of businesses are not COVID Secure and complaints around pubs and hairdressers/barbers remain high. If businesses do not follow the guidance, we will take action. If people don’t feel a business is putting your interests first they should not go in there.
“We would urge people to continue to report issues to us by emailing email@example.com or calling 01782 234234. Some of the best evidence we are receiving is direct from residents and we couldn’t do it without them.”
Meanwhile Stoke-on-Trent residents are now eligible for a Test and Trace support payment of £500 if they are told to stay at home and to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
The funding is available for people who are employed and self-employed who are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
The scheme is also open to those who are currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Based Employment and Support Allowance, Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
An online application form will be made available at stoke.gov.uk from week beginning Monday October 12. People will be able to apply online and payments will be to Monday, September 28 for eligible claims.
Cllr Brown said: “It is critical that people in the city self-isolate when they are asked to. Having this funding in place will make it easier for people to do what is needed and I’m pleased that this much needed support is coming forward. We are hearing examples of people not self-isolating at the moment and this is contributing to a rise in cases in the city. It’s incredibly important that the guidance is followed and any measures from government which help to ensure this happens are hugely welcomed.”
Finally residents are being reminded about the city council face covering campaign to remind people to wear their face covering when out and about across the city.
People are being invited to share their selfies wearing their favourite face coverings using the hashtag #LetskickcoronavirusoutofStokeonTrent.
Through the campaign the city council has teamed up with design business- Megan Rose Design, who specialises in Stoke-on-Trent themed designs. She has created a limited edition ‘Cost kick coronavirus out of Stoke-on-Trent’ Stokie themed face covering that were available for residents to purchase.
By popular demand there are now 300 new face coverings available in the same design with the message ‘Hands, Face, Space’. The new limited edition face coverings are available to purchase at www.meganrosedesign.co.uk.
Residents can also win one of 10 limited edition ‘Cost kick coronavirus out of Stoke-on-Trent’ face coverings by sharing their selfies online. Residents can enter the social media competition by tagging the city council in their face covering selfies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by using the hashtag #LetskickcoronavirusoutofStokeonTrent. The competition will run from Thursday, September 24 to Thursday, October 22. The winners will be picked at random and announced on Friday, October 23.