THE number of fly-tipping incidents reported to Bradford Council has rocketed over the last year, with the 2018/19 figure over 2,000 higher than any other over the past decade.

The T&A put in a Freedom of Information request to the Council, which revealed that, in the 2008/09 financial year, 4,330 cases were reported. That figure decreased to as few as 3,441 in 2010/11, but there has been a steady increase since.

The 5,000 mark was breached by 2013/14, with 5,301 reports and had climbed to 7,852 by 2017/18. 998,000 cases were reported to councils overall in England that year.

No leap in Bradford has been as pronounced as last year to this year though, with that 7,852 figure dwarfed by the 2018/19 figure, a staggering, and depressing, 9,954.

Our 50-picture gallery of shame shows the scale of this fly-tipping problem in the city, putting images to the startling statistics.

Bradford Council pointed out that the figures above include duplicate cases reported by different people, or in some cases issues about private land that is not maintained by the Council, but the majority were distinct cases on public land.

The Council also pointed out that it pumps £380,000 a year into cleaning up and enforcement over fly-tipping, and that it has run roadshows and workshops to address the issue over the last three years in particular.

The message clearly is not getting through to enough people in Bradford, with the fact that only 19 prosecutions were made in the 2018 calendar year, and only six so far in 2019, perhaps suggesting that people feel they can escape severe punishment.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for People and Places, addressed these concerns in a face-to-face interview with the Telegraph & Argus.

She said: "If it's on Council land we clean that up. If it's on private land we contact landowners for them to address the issue.

"But everyone has a responsibility to dispose of their waste correctly. There are number of avenues at which they can do so. That's at household recycling sites and they can book bulk refuse.

"If you go to the household recycling site with your goods it doesn't cost you anything to tip it or it's £15 per collection for three bulky items.

"If you are using someone to take your rubbish away, ensure they have the correct waste carrier's licence.

"Ultimately it's council tax payers that end up footing the (fly-tipping) bill and we need to pursue the avenues that we've now available (Fixed Penalty Notices and prosecutions).

"This ensures that the people who carry out fly-tipping are taken through the process and made to realise that it isn't acceptable behaviour and they're doing a disservice to the council tax payers of this district."

Questioned on whether enough funding is going into tackling fly-tipping, Cllr Ferriby said: "We're spending that (£380,000) because of the number of fly-tips.

"Whether you say it's enough, it's the amount it's costing us to clear up after those fly-tips and pursuing people through fixed penalty notices or the court process.

"I don't think it's a case of more funding, that funding is what it's costing the Council to address this issue.

"We don't have a lot of money and the amount we spend is the amount we have. We only spent half of what we do on fly-tipping, we could spend the other half elsewhere."

She added: "We're using CCTV, residents' reporting and officers do some joint projects to ensure that waste carriers have the right permits to carry waste and dispose of it correctly.

"There's been three years of work on educating people across the district, with things like roadshows and leafleting.

"But a lot of the time it's just thoughtlessness and selfishness and we have to fund fly-tipping because of these people."

Councillor Alan Wainwright (Labour, Tong) said: "All of Bradford is improving. In the current economic climate, I think we are doing a marvellous job.

"Every year since 2011, funding is down 50 per cent down since then across the whole of Bradford Council, I'm not telling you any lies.

"It affected poorer areas in the North of England most, as we used to get bigger grants than in posher areas.

Speaking about the prosecution and funding statistics provided by the Council, he said: "I'm very pleased. The figures speak for themselves.

"The Council always takes fly-tipping very seriously, they have to. The figures have improved enormously. The ideal situation would be no fly-tipping at all but it is a national problem.

"£380,000 is a lot of money and we've got keep plodding on to educate people and get people to report it."

Since 2016 Bradford Council has issued 49 Fixed Penalty Notices for fly-tipping.

"49 Fixed Penalty Notices is a vast improvement over the years," said Cllr Wainwright. "It all costs time and I'd like to thank the people who have the unfortunate job of clearing all the mess up.

"It's worse than it was 10 years ago and we've got to start in schools because a lot of it (littering) comes from kids. Fly-tipping just takes it to the next level."

Cllr Wainwright added: "Fly-tipping is a plague across the country. People should report it more to the Council and it will prosecute. Councillor Ferriby won't relax this policy.

"People think it is all the Council's land but sometimes it is on private property and we don't have permission to clean it."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Graphic: Piktochart

Residents have been queuing up to share their horror stories. Khalil Ahmed flagged up the issue on Upper Castle Street in Little Horton. He complained: "There is apathy from the Council towards enforcing action.

"You've got fly-tipping, overgrown vegetation (knotweed) and it just looks an absolute mess after 4+ years of neglect.

"It's all growing into the road, cutting down road space and vision for kids crossing."

"Suzy" felt that a misunderstanding was causing major issues near her in Shipley.

She said: "We've had to get the warden involved, as well as our councillor Vanda Greenwood.

"There's two flats that do it. It's mattresses, doors and carpets. We've asked the Council to send letters in English and Polish to explain to them what to do with rubbish.

"We've had rats too and it's just an ongoing battle every week."

Headteacher at Miriam Lord Primary School in Manningham, Bryan Harrison, blasted the current situation on Anvil Court, which backs on to the playground, saying that it went against the whole ethos of the school.

He said: "I've been here for 10 years but this all started about a year ago, because before then it was the car park of a nursing home.

"The Telegraph & Argus ran a story on the mess (on June 20) and I thought it would give councillors a kick up the a**e but it's even worse now than it was then.

"I have 400 kids at my school who are sat 50 yards from the mess. We're trying to teach them about aspiration and we're spending £60,000 on an outdoor play area this summer, but then they see that.

"How does that fit when you're trying to teach them about values? I have an issue with them littering in the playground but it's not surprising when they're not seeing positive images.

"People just throw full binbags on to the pile, which is about four feet high, and then start bonfires there on an evening.

"The pile attracts scavengers and young lads in cars and it's a real concern for my school. I'm just worried what it will be like after the summer holidays.

"Councillors say they'll change things but it's just not being tackled. I've messaged parents about it, but it feels like a blind eye is being turned as it's not technically in school.

"It's a shame that it's the younger kids' playground that it backs on to because my Year 6 children in particular would be on at me if they saw that every day."

Speaking on the Thackley and Idle Community Group Facebook page, Ade Rushworth blasted: "If the Council lifted its charges at rubbish tips and made them more user-friendly, the problem would more or less disappear overnight."

Shahidur Rahman has a more positive outlook on the issue on Percival Street, he said: "It’s an ongoing problem, which dates the last five years or so.

"We’ve made massive strides in addressing this and worked with the community to raise the issue. However we still get it, although it has reduced drastically."

Nick Garthwaite is the former president of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce and managing director at Christeyns, a chemical manufacturer, on Rutland Street in East Bowling.

Worryingly, he said: "The issue has been really bad over the last few weeks and it looks like it might be the outcome of a cannabis farm, with bulbs and insulation there.

"The Council has been superb and tackled it in a positive way but it is a wider challenge for them across Bradford.

"The £380,000 they spend on cleaning up fly-tipping and enforcement is so costly and it could be used elsewhere for people in the city.

"It's appalling that there were only 19 prosecutions last year but I'm not blaming the Council, the problem is that the fly-tippers are hard to catch and resources are stretched.

"It's not a unique problem, it happens all around the country, but 10,000 (fly-tipping cases reported in 2018/19) is a shocking number.

"Unfortunately, I can't give any reason why it's getting worse, but at the moment, it's almost like an epidemic."

Some environmentally-minded residents are looking to tackle the "epidemic" head on.

Cathy Knamiller is a worker at community-based organisation The Anchor Project, which engages with many BAME residents in the BD3 area, and their fight against fly-tipping and littering.

Ms Knamiller said: "We work with a lot of British Pakistanis and asylum-seekers who live locally.

"They just want the area to look nice but fly-tipping and litter are a massive problem.

"Lots were upset because they didn't know what action to take, so we did workshops with Campaign Boot Camp to teach them how to campaign and learn what causes the issues and what we can do about it.

"The residents could do litter-picking forever and feel like they're getting nowhere so this empowered them to take action themselves.

"They've learnt to call the Council and confront fly-tippers themselves. One lady had fly-tipping dumped on her doorstep, so she found out who they were and they came back and cleaned it up.

"There were a couple of stores on Otley Road leaving waste out the back so some of our female residents told them politely to clean it up or they wouldn't shop there any more."

Ishaq Shafiq is another prominent figure in BD3. He is the ward officer for Bowling & Barkerend and Bradford Moor.

He was out with wardens and residents showing a fly-tipping crime scene on Wingfield Street, which can be seen in our Facebook Live video above.

Newspapers, clothes, cans of oil, football boots and tissues were all found among the discarded waste.

Mr Shafiq was at the forefront of this March to April's Great Bradford Spring Clean, which saw 1,800 volunteers help out at 137 separate clean ups around Bradford.

He feels that initiatives like that are necessary in the city, and he said: "BD3 is the worst fly-tipping hot spot in Bradford.

"I once started a clean up at 7:30am and after doing 29 streets and three parks, we'd collected about 12 and a half tonnes of waste."

Speaking about this morning's scene on Wingfield Street, he added: "We use this crime scene tape to highlight the fact that it's illegal.

"It stops people coming back and adding more and it means we might be able to prosecute.

"The Council are not picking it up because by leaving it, it allows us to search for the culprits and do door knocking to gather evidence."

Mr Shafiq and the neighbourhood wardens he was with explained how they are trying to teach residents about taking responsibility for their actions, how people can help out and report the crime, and how CCTV can be vital at regular fly-tipping hot spots.

Residents spoke as part of the Facebook Live too. An angry "Mr" Ahmed fumed: "We want to live nice and clean and we've got to take care of these people.

"I've lived here for about 50 years and it's not been like this before.

"We've got to catch those people who are putting it (their waste) on here and where they're coming from.

He added: "They (the fly-tippers) know the time when everyone goes to sleep.

"It's mostly at night they put it on and I can't see them. 

"I don't see it changing and unless the Council take action for it, they (the fly-tippers) will do this every time."

Meanwhile, Manjit Kaur was out helping with her son.

Speaking with the help of a translator, she said: "It's really bad at the moment in this area and it's on a regular basis.

"I've lived here for the last three months and it's a serious problem."

Meanwhile, Ward Councillor Ralph Berry (Labour, Wibsey) is very active in the fight against fly-tipping and littering, regularly going out on clean-ups with Council colleagues David Green and Sabiya Khan.

He said: "We do litter-picks in Wibsey Park but we've also got a specific project to tackle fly-tipping on Scaly Hills.

"We want to stop waste being dumped and do something about the plants and wildlife that are affect by the fly-tipping.

"I think when people just see a Council official cleaning things up, it has little impact.

"But people like seeing councillors getting their hands dirty and the key is getting the community and councillors to combine on these projects. People want us to get involved and do things with them."

After being told about the prosecution and funding figures provided by the Council, Cllr Berry added: "We do need to focus on getting more prosecutions as it would help people have confidence within the community.

"More use needs to be made of Fixed Penalty Notices and people need to make sure they give evidence when reporting fly-tipping.

"When people are more informed and vigilant, it transforms an area."

Asked what had changed in the past decade, Cllr Berry said: "There's more pressure on local government and less staff, so financially it's difficult for the Council.

"The (dumping of) trade waste has got worse in the last 10 years and we need businesses to have the legitimate disposal of waste built into their costs.

"It (fly-tipping) has always been a problem in my 27 years on the Council though. Behaviour needs to change and people should be less messy.

"Then the Council could spend money in other areas."

Mick Adams and Kieran Walker do plenty of disposing. They are business partners at MBA Recycling, and the former feels that people quoting ridiculously low prices to clear waste is a key part of the epidemic.

Mr Adams said: "Fly-tipping is a real epidemic in Bradford. We're registered and insured but people in unmarked vans and over Facebook will quote ridiculous prices.

"Kieran deals with Facebook and he'll show me pictures of people asking for a price on a pile of rubbish they want cleared. We know it's £100 worth but someone will quote £50-£70.

"We know it costs about £100 per tonne + VAT on top, with an extra charge for mattresses, freezers, tellies and tyres.

"But someone with an unmarked van might do it for £70 and just dump it.

"The Council is now going out with police and doing spot checks on environment licences. We showed them ours but they said they'd stopped three others for not having one."

As alluded to by Cllr Ferriby, Bradford Council confirmed at the start of this month that a new law had been passed, giving it the power to impose a Fixed Penalty Notice on householders who don’t check that their waste carrier is legitimate and licensed properly, so this may lead people to choose who they use more carefully.

Finally, Fix My Street is a website which allows residents to report issues to their local council. We have taken a raft of fly-tipping complaints and pictures from the site, all of which took place in the last eight months.

One anonymous complainant, flagging up the fly-tipping issue off Flockton Road in BD4 blasted: "The land has become a flytipping spot with all sorts of household waste left there.

"It looks absolutely disgusting and really does not give the best impression of area, not only to residents but especially visitors of grade listed Bolling Hall museum (next door)."

Punishment powers are increasing and community engagement is up. Yet the statistics suggest a worsening problem, and arguably an epidemic.

Is there anything that can be done to curtail the fly-tipping that currently blights Bradford?