Town struggles with growing rubbish problem as lockdown flytipping soars

  • Watch Graham Stothard's report from Northampton

An increase in rubbish dumped on Northampton's streets, footpaths and fields during the lockdown has seen the town named as one of the worst areas in the country for flytipping.

Abandoned baths, fridges and sofas are among the piles of waste left strewn across some of Northampton's fields.

It's an unwelcome sight for dog walkers and and anyone trying to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

Flytipping in Northampton has soared during the lockdown. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cllr Rufia Ashraf, the Deputy Mayor or Northampton, says illegal rubbish dumping has soared during the last year. 

She said: "I think enforcement is very difficult, but if we are able to catch people during the flytip then we can take it on to prosecution.

"The difficulty is we don't have that many people on the ground to be able to do that."

The problem is not just in the countryside, piles of rubbish have also been appearing on street corners. Credit: ITV News Anglia

On the private lanes it's the landowners' responsibility to clean up.

Locals say in some of the worst hit areas it's been happening for years with hundreds of bin bags, wood and industrial waste piling up.

It's a problem in the town centre too with some street corners piled with rubbish.

The piles of rubbish are an eyesore and a health hazard for dog walkers and anyone out enjoying the countryside. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The community has started taking measures into their own hands. Wendy and Caroline are members of the 6-week-old Northamptonshire Litter Wombles.

Wendy O'Connor, a Northamptonshire Litter Womble, said: "I think it was mainly brought about by people in their local areas looking out at the litter while they're out walking, dur to lockdown really, people weren't using their cars so much.

"Somebody started a Facebook group and it just escalated and I think we've got about 1,700 members now."

The piles of rubbish are an eyesore and a health hazard for dog walkers and anyone out enjoying the countryside. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Recent figures found the town had the fourth highest flytipping rate in England, with more than 20,000 incidents reported in the year up to March 2020.

A pilot being run there in conjunction with the county's Police, Crime and Fire Commissioner, hopes to give private landowners help in dealing with the mess.

Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire PCFC, said: "If someone has some flytipping, they contact one of the councils, they then check it then it's removed by an authorized contractor. We pay for that.

"We work with in conjunction with them to get some deployable CCTV, some mobile cameras. Already the early indications of the first few days looks like it'll be a great success and hopefully we'll see it rolled out across the whole of the county later on this year."

Is this the most ignored sign in Northampton? Credit: ITV News Anglia