Following concerns raised by local residents and Labour ward councillors from Blackbrook, Moss Bank and Town Centre wards, St Helens Borough Council and the Environment Agency conducted a joint investigation, finding high levels of mixed household waste – with evidence of waste being burned off – on land on Merton Bank Road, Islands Brow.
St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Labour Councillor Andy Bowden, said: “Local residents are quite rightly disgusted about this eyesore which has led to this formal action to prevent further tipping of waste and seek to remove waste currently on the land.
“I’d like to thank council officers for their joined up working with the Environment Agency, and the landowner for assisting us with our investigation to help resolve this matter. Also residents for reporting what they have witnessed, and for their patience.
“We will not tolerate this type of lazy, anti-social behaviour in our borough and will not hesitate to prosecute where necessary, using the powers available.”
Labour Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, added: “The thoughtless actions of this operator have led to great upset in the local community.
“Residents shouldn’t have to see this complete mess so I welcome the enforcement action taken and we will now work with the Environment Agency and landowner to ensure the land returns to its former tidy state.”
Given the site’s proximity to residential properties and an adjacent watercourse, potential concern was considered to public health, as well as safety and damage to the environment.
St Helens Borough Council have confirmed that a planning enforcement Temporary Stop Notice was served against the operator, North West Skip Hire Ltd, on Monday 11 January prohibiting the importation of any further waste onto the land.
Any persons found to be contravening the notice will be guilty of a criminal offence and will be subject to prosecution which may result in a fine of up to £20,000.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said:
“We are leading investigations around reports of illegal waste activities at the former Yates Garage in St Helens. We are working closely with St Helens Borough Council and the landowner on these investigations.”
St Helens Borough Council and the Environment Agency also want to remind residents to be wary of who they hand their bulky waste over to.
Unregistered waste carriers are known to operate and if someone offers to take away your waste on the cheap – the chances are it will end up being dumped illegally.
Always check the credentials of those offering to carry out removal work before agreeing to do so – by checking they are registered waste carriers listed with the Environment Agency, and by obtaining a Waste Transfer Note for the waste being removed.
Residents can arrange to have their bulky rubbish collected by the council. Find out more or book a collection.
To report fly-tipping, call the council on 01744 676789 or visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/contactus
Alternatively, residents can report flytipping on the council’s free mobile app which can be found by searching on ‘St Helens Council’ in your app store.