New fly-tipping campaign sees Sefton Council asking residents #WFT?

09 July 2024 6 min read

In a new campaign to combat fly-tipping, Sefton Council is asking residents ‘WFT?’  

Focused on areas where properties have shared rear entries, the campaign highlights how piles of unwanted items and rubbish can make the ideal home for unsavoury neighbours.  

Through the #WFT (Why Fly Tip?) campaign Sefton Council is highlighting some of these facts to residents in a part of Bootle where properties have shared rear entries. All the information can be found at  

#WFT? Dumped furniture and rubbish makes the ideal home for unwanted neighbours. Why would you want to do that?The area on which #WFT is focused is one where the reporting of fly-tipping and complaints about it is highest. Lessons learned from the campaign will be used to tackle fly-tipping in other areas.  

At the same time as it is highlighting the potential safety and health issues posed by fly-tipping, the Council will also be working with residents in the areas affected.  

Council support

Council refuse teams have already moved into the target area to start clearing shared rear entries of dumped rubbish. Weeds and overhanging vegetation will also be cleared.  

After these clearances, staff will be calling door-to-door on daily visits handing out information. They will talk to residents about the potential hazards as well as reminding them of their household duty of care and the services available.   
Often, items of furniture can be passed on to local people who need them. The Council works with local charities who collect furniture that is in good condition and can be re-used, free of charge. Alternatively, the Council can collect up to three bulky waste items for just £14.00.  

Residents will also be reminded of their responsibilities to dispose of rubbish and that the Council can and will take enforcement action where necessary.  

Unwanted guests

Rats, mice and insects love the environment that fly-tipped rubbish and furniture creates. And once they’ve made themselves at home and started breeding, they can multiply at an alarming rate. 

If a female rat gives birth to around six litters of up to 12 baby rats each year and these babies start reproducing when they are 10 weeks old, the original pair that snuggled up in an abandoned sofa can become over 1,000 in 12 months.   

The problems that can create include infections such as leptospirosis, hantavirus, rat-bite fever and a type of meningitis, which can be transmitted to people.   

Despite their short lives, house flies are extremely (re)productive with females able to lay up to 500 eggs over a three-to-four-day period. They are attracted by food waste and rubbish feeding across different food sources and causing cross contamination.   

House flies are estimated by the World Health Organization to transmit around 65 diseases. These include salmonella, E. coli 0157 and campylobacter which can cause food poisoning, which can result in severe diarrhoea and vomiting and occasionally, more serious complaints.  

Preventing danger

As well as providing the prefect breeding ground for rats and insects, shared rear entries full of discarded items are a fire hazard and can prevent fire service crews from gaining access in an emergency.  

Utility companies sometimes need to get access to drain sand sewers to make sure they are clear and flowing properly and to make any repair needed. If they are unable to do this, in rear entries, it could result in blockages, overflows and flooding of grey wastewater or even sewage.  

Cllr Peter Harvey, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleansing and Street Scene said:  “When you look at the creatures you may find, along with the diseases they may carry, that you might find living and breeding on your back doorstep in abandoned furniture and other rubbish and also consider the risks like fire, the inevitable questions if ‘Why Fly Tip? or as our campaign says, #WFT. 

#WFT“By running this campaign, we want to present people with some stark facts about the consequences of their actions. We are posing the question #WFT? but also asking why, once you know the unpleasant facts about what fly-tipping causes, why you wouldn’t use the services available to get rid of items.   

“But also, by clearing the shared back entries areas and then visiting them regularly to provide support and remind them about the ways they can act responsibly, we aim to stop the problem re-occurring in the long term.”  

Sefton Council’s cleansing, neighbourhood engagement, enforcement officers and communications teams are all working together on the #WFT campaign. Enforcement officers can also issue Fixed Penalty Notices for fly-tipping or support if there is the need to prosecute repeat offenders.  


Working together

Cllr Liz Dowd, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnership Engagement said: “It’s important that we all work together to tackle the issue of fly-tipping. Not only is it an eyesore within the community, it creates a potential hazard for local residents. Sefton Council with housing and emergency services partners.

“Teams across the Council have come together to spread the message around the dangers of fly-tipping, but it’s a much wider issue. The illegal dumping of waste affects our fire service, utilities staff, landlords and police. We’re asking the community to think about where their waste ends up and make the right choices when it comes to disposing of rubbish. 

Cllr Harvey added: “It costs the Council a six-figure sum every year to remove and dispose of it and that’s hundreds of thousands of pounds that could otherwise be spent on important local services to benefit people in the Borough and nice things.   

“That is why where we can trace the culprits, we will take enforcement action against them, which means they could receive Fixed Penalty Notices or be faced with prosecution.    

“We do ask that anyone spotting incidents of this anti-social behaviour, to report it to Sefton Council at or by calling 0345 140 0845.”   

Government grant

Sefton Council successfully applied to the Government’s Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for £50,000 from its Fly-Tipping Intervention Grant scheme for the #WFT? campaign. DEFRA issued grants totalling £994,547 to 26 councils under the latest round of its Fly-Tipping Intervention Grant programme.  

The Government department is also working with the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group to create a new fly-tipping toolkit. This will incorporate guides on how councils and others can present robust cases to court, set up and run effective local partnerships to tackle fly-tipping and raise awareness of the household and business waste duty of care.

Use this link to find out more about the WFT Why Fly Tip campaign.

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