COUNCILS in north and west Cumbria dealt with more than 2,240 fly-tipping incidents last year, with the bill for clearing up the mess estimated at more than £170,000.

Figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs revealed the extent of the fly-tipping problem in Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland.

But while Allerdale and Carlisle have seen minor changes in the amount of incidents between 2016/17 and 2018/19, Copeland has bucked the trend, with the number of incidents almost halved from 434 in 2016/17 to 237 in the last financial year.

While fly-tipping has seen a slight decrease in Allerdale from 1,030 incidents in 2017/18to 927 in 2018/19, Carlisle suffered an increase from 921 to 1080 in the same period.

And, based on Government figures, the city was estimated to have spent more than £100,000 on clearing up dumped rubbish last year.

Since April 2019, Carlisle City Council said 61 fines have been issued for littering, nine for dog fouling and eight for fly-tipping.

A spokesman for the authority said: “We take the issue of fly-tipping very seriously and over the past few years have made some improvements to our reporting and logging of incidents of fly-tipping.

“Our Keep Carlisle Clean campaign also has encouraged residents and businesses to contact us and report fly-tipping and other forms of enviro-crimes. Every time someone contacts us we follow up the enquiry and where possible take action, including prosecution through the courts if necessary.”

Figures show that last the majority of fly-tipping incidents in Carlisle related to rubbish being dumped on the streets and back alleys, with almost half of the rubbish being household waste.

To report fly-tipping in Carlisle people can email or call the council on 01228 817200.

In Allerdale, 566 fly-tipping incidents related to household waste and 132 to construction work.

Government estimates suggest that the cost of removing the rubbish would be of around £50,000 for Allerdale council.

A spokesman for the authority said: “The council continues to take a zero-tolerance attitude to this issue and will prosecute anyone who we catch fly-tipping.

“With our bulky waste collection service, the household waste recycling centres and our monthly ‘crunch’ service, there really is no excuse for fly-tipping of waste.

“We would also advise that residents who use other services to dispose of waste to make sure it will be done correctly.

“If it is flytipped and we can identify the source, then we will fine you.

“We also encourage people to download our app and report instances of fly tipping to us so that we can not only arrange for it to be cleared away, but so that we also get valuable information on fly tipping “hot-spots” in the area.

“The app is free and available on the Google Play, Apple and Microsoft app stores.”

Copeland council says its low fly-tipping rate is down to enforcement and community campaigns.

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see that the number of fly-tipping incidents in Copeland continues to fall year-on-year.

“It is a tremendous achievement from both the council and the community.

“This figure is bucking the trend from other parts of the country.

“As well as having a dedicated and diligent enforcement team who investigate every incident of fly-tipping, our Pride of Place campaign has played a significant part in this decrease.

“We work with schools and community groups, and hold poster competitions for example, and run a sustained press and social media campaign to shine a spotlight on good practice – and highlight some of the bad – to harness a sense of civic pride in the area.

“Although the figures are heading in the right direction, one episode of fly-tipping is one too many. The impact they have on the environment is devastating, and it takes our staff away from other duties to clean up after an irresponsible minority. So we won’t be complacent.”