FLY-TIPPING in St Helens costs the local authority £142,000 per year, it has been revealed.

St Helens Council’s environment, regeneration, housing, culture and leisure overview and scrutiny panel were provided an update on the costs and enforcement of fly-tipping.

A council report says there were 2,050 instances of fly-tipping between October 2017 and September 2018, with 2,040 in the same period a year earlier.

Paul Jones, St Helens Council’s senior assistant director of trading services, said around 75 per cent of fly-tipping in the borough is in rear alleys.

From April 2018 up until now, there have been 46 fixed penalty notices issued by the council and seven prosecutions.

Mr Jones said: “When it comes to doing the enforcement it is very difficult because you’ve got to get the evidence.

“Once you’ve got fly-tipping it’s trying to get the evidence to make a fixed penalty notice stick or to go through prosecution.

“But there will be more resources going into enforcement in the future.”

All local authorities in England are required to submit waste data into WasteDataFlow (WDF) three months after the end of the quarter.

These are calculated costs to allow for comparisons between local authorities.

For St Helens, the clearance costs calculated per item by WDF between October 2017 and September 2018 is £156,060.

Mr Jones told the panel that the actual fly-tipping cost to the local authority during that period was £142,000.

Of that figure, £55,000 goes on the tipping fees. It also covers the cost of employing a fly-tipping crew.

Mr Jones said the team are “very vigilant” in their attempts to identify evidence that could lead to prosecutions.

He also said the council has seen a “significant rise” in issuing fixed penalty notices, which is largely down to the work of the fly-tipping team.

“We need the address that identifies the person that’s done the fly-tipping,” Mr Jones said.

He said the team search the waste bags to try to find an envelope or letter with an address on.

Mr Jones added: “Anything that can associate that particularly type of fly-tipping with a person, with an address, that’s the type of evidence that we’re looking for.”

Mr Jones acknowledged that the waste department need to “get better” at the promotion side around fly-tipping.

Thatto Heath councillor Richard McCauley said the council can also get better at publicising when the council does effectively take enforcement action.

The environment, regeneration, housing, culture and leisure overview and scrutiny panel noted the report.