THE MAN in charge of cleaning the streets of Blackburn has slammed the householders who cause the problem as "ignorant" and "lazy".

Peter Hunt, director of direct services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, criticised those who did not take advantage of a free council service to pick up bulky waste items.

And Mr Hunt defended a van ban at local tips which was introduced in November.

A total of 5,000 complaints have been made about rubbish in Blackburn and Darwen in the last year, an increase of 60 per cent.

A number of councillors have blamed a van ban at household tips introduced in November last year for the rise in waste dumped.

Mr Hunt said figures showed the number of incidents of fly-tipping reported was on the increase but said the van ban had not had an effect.

All vans have been banned from tipping waste at domestic tips in George Street West, Blackburn, and Spring Vale Road, Darwen, and instead are re-directed to Roman Road's commercial waste site.

But domestic customers are not charged to tip their waste at the commercial site, even if they are in a van.

Mr Hunt said the cause of much of the rubbish on the streets and backstreets of Blackburn and Darwen was not fly-tippers but littering householders. "The rubbish we see on the back streets of Blackburn is from the back of houses. It's purely down to laziness from householders.

"It's people's ignorance, and I mean that in the best possible way, that people don't understand that they can get the council to take bulky waste away.

"It is a lack of respect for their environment, a lot of people are not that bothered, they think it will go and that's the end of it."

And Mr Hunt said that domestic customers need not be put off by any van ban.

He said: "If they are a private domestic individual they will be allowed to tip for free.

"Some traders will tip it illegally if they are not allowed to tip it in household tips.

"But should we be condoning council tax-payers paying for traders' waste?

"Some councillors have it in their heads that a van ban is creating rubbish on the backstreets.

"Fly-tipping year on year is on the increase. It might be that it's happening more, it might be that people are better at responding to it.

"But since the introduction of the van ban in November the figures show it is not having any effect on fly-tipping."