Series following the work of Wigan's council officers. Officers assess the safety of adrenalin seekers at a motocross track.
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From grappling with our daily grind...
Why have they suddenly decided to dump all this waste in other people's bins?
..to an unearthing the extraordinary.
Wow, it's Wiggin's gold mask.
Battling those blighting the streets...
-It's unacceptable, really.
-..bringing the community together...
-How are you?
..and being on hand in troubled times.
I've got kids. We can't even open bedroom windows because of the noise. It's affecting everything,
sleep, you know, just day-to-day living, really.
In this series we follow front-line staff working for Wigan Council
-in Greater Manchester.
-I speak to the waste.
I sort of say to it, "Come on, talk to me. What have you got here?"
Like council officers across the country,
they're keeping us free from harm...
You're looking at really serious injury or possibly death.
-..stepping in to try and solve our problems...
-I mean, it's constant.
You'll be told today that we will be serving notice.
..and responding to residents.
I much appreciate what you're doing anyway.
-What was the enquiry today?
-..call the council.
council officers join forces in a battle against rubbish and rodents.
Action man. Getting stuck in now.
Inspect the health of all creatures great and small
-at an agricultural show.
-I love my job.
Always wanted to be the voice for the animals.
And assess the safety of adrenaline seekers at a motocross track.
Our worry was that riders would collide into the stone wall.
Wigan lies 20 miles west of Manchester.
It's borough council is responsible for a community of over 300,000 people.
Any problems, just give us a call back, OK?
One of its biggest departments is environmental services,
with an annual budget of over £20 million.
Council officers in this department are tasked with emptying our bins,
collecting recycling and keeping the streets clean.
Council waste services, Alex speaking.
If rubbish is unlawfully dumped, or allowed to accumulate,
environmental enforcement officers like Alex Kay
come down hard on those responsible.
My job is helping the residents
who unfortunately have to live in
and around waste that gets dumped, often causing a nuisance.
That's what I enjoy, I enjoy getting decent resolutions to problems.
One Wigan resident who's riled about rubbish is Barbara Paige.
She's called the council because her neighbour's yard is full of it.
I have reported it several times to the council.
It's got worse in the last two years.
And this year's been terrible with people putting things in.
Instead of having it removed, like they should do,
or taking it to the tip themselves, they're just using this as a tip.
It spoils the environment altogether.
We generate over 28 million tonnes
of domestic waste a year
in the UK.
Be it bin rounds or tips, most of it is cleared up by local councils.
But not all of us take advantage of their services.
If we flout the law and fly tip or dump our waste where we shouldn't,
officers like Alex have legal powers to force us to clean up.
The property Barbara complained about appears unoccupied.
But its overflowing back yard is on Alex's radar.
Apparently the house has been empty for a number of years
and the back garden is also unsecure.
It may not be the homeowner who is dumping the waste in the yard,
but Alex has made several attempts to contact them without success.
Making matters worse, residents have started seeing rats.
You look in and thinking, "Ooh, could it be a rat?"
I have an outside toilet, but I wouldn't go in there at night
cos I'm like this, open door, looking.
I'm imagining they're there when they are not there,
you know what I mean?
It's time for Alex to take more drastic action.
I'm going today to issue a notice
that requires them to remove all the waste within 28 days.
Alex can threaten legal action against human wrongdoers,
but rats have no respect for the law.
If he's going to rid Barbara's neighbourhood of four-legged pests,
he'll need reinforcements.
Public protection officer Colin Evans
has been rooting out rats for nearly 30 years.
When I came into this job
I was under no illusions of what was involved.
All I say is, "Bring it on."
The dirtier, the better. If I get the solution, I am not bothered.
When I first started in environmental services,
I learned quite a lot off Colin.
I did quite a lot of job shadowing with him.
He taught me a lot about drainage and rats and rodents and stuff.
We've kind of split, really, and we now look at...
Rather than looking at everything
we'll sort of have expertise in certain areas.
If there is a rat to be found, Colin will find it.
Today, Alex is teaming up again with Wigan's Pied Piper
and together they are hoping to crack this complaint.
This is it.
Getting stuck in now.
They've got the same haircut.
The waste in the yard provides lots of places for rats to hide.
Colin wants to flush them out and has a good idea where to start.
All these terraced houses years ago,
had an outside toilet and like a coal shed.
A lot of them get knocked down
and they sometimes don't cap the drains off.
I'll just have a look now and see if I can see any signs of an open drain
where rodents might be coming out of. So, we'll see what we can see.
Nothing down there.
With no sign of any historic plumbing, Colin's drawn a blank.
Rats have between four and six litters a year.
Producing eight to 12 offspring per litter.
If left to breed unchecked,
one pair could produce a colony of 2,000 rats a year.
Colin needs to find where they are coming from
before an infestation takes hold.
And he might have found a clue.
This could be interesting.
We've got the surface here, the tarmac's sunk.
There's quite a big hole under there.
Public sewer's running straight down here.
Straight above a public sewer, which is full of rats.
It's quite feasible there is a fault on that.
On closer inspection,
Colin suspects the rats could be using the sewer as a route into
the alley and back yards.
Where that's collapsed like that,
that does make me feel it's straight into the sewer, that.
It looks like these rats are no match
for a veteran vermin capturer like Colin.
We've only been here 20 minutes,
Colin seems to have located the source.
I think that just comes from years of doing it, really.
He knows exactly what to look for and, yeah, I'm impressed.
To prove his instincts are right,
Colin has some colourful chemical kit.
Put some drain dye down this hole and I'm going to pour water down.
If my theory is right...
the pipe in here, the water in here, will turn green.
See what happens.
Yes, it is coming out already.
No question at all, coming through there.
That tells me the rats are coming up the side of the chamber,
up where the wall is,
and they found a weak spot and they have tunnelled out.
Rats' teeth are a fearsome weapon.
They can grow up to 5.5 inches a year and,
when they get their teeth into something,
there's very little that can stop them.
A rat would chew through tarmac no problem whatsoever.
It would chew through concrete and get to through tarmac quite easily.
There's plenty of purchase on it.
They're very industrious.
They've nothing else to do apart from chew and chew and chew
till they find a way to get to a food source.
With the rats' run located, Colin's work is done.
-Right, cheers, Colin.
-See you later. Ta-ra, pal.
It's now over to the council's highways team,
who will fill the hole to stop the rats running out of the sewer
and into the back yard.
And for Alex,
he still has the problem of getting the rubbish in the yard removed.
But after weeks of trying,
he hasn't been able to make contact with the homeowner.
Local intelligence is telling us
nobody has lived here from some time.
I've left them numerous contact cards
and I've wrote to them and I've had no reply.
So this is... We're at the stage we're at now.
Hence the reason why I'm sticking the notice on the door.
Hopefully, somebody might know where they live,
they might know a way of getting in touch
and just highlight to them that there is a notice been served
and then hopefully they'll get in touch with me.
But if not, 28 days and we'll have a resolution anyway.
If the rubbish isn't removed within 28 days, Alex will get it cleared,
but the bill will be passed onto the property owner,
along with a fine of £100 plus charges in default.
We've done all we can, so it's just a waiting game now.
Coming up... The highways team arrived to fix the hole,
but disaster strikes.
Sometimes the plans are wrong.
We might have nicked a water or a drain.
Council officers on the front line deal daily with a variety of often
From rotting rubbish in bins...
It's probably been there for weeks, if not months.
..to dirty drains.
A bit of toilet paper in there and possibly some wipes over there.
But it's not all dirty work.
On occasion, they do get given more glamorous assignments.
Haigh Agricultural Show is a local event supported by Wigan Council.
It's a fun-filled family day,
featuring friends of the four-legged variety
where farmers can compete for coveted prizes
by parading their livestock.
Which is where animal health officer Sue Keane McPartlin comes in.
I think in all I've been 25 years an animal health officer.
I love my job.
Always wanted to be sort of the voice for the animals.
Events like these attract various animals from all over the UK.
Farmers hosting them require an animal gathering licence.
The licence is enforced by the council.
Sue is on site to check that
the conditions of the licence are being met.
One of the main reasons I'm here today is to ensure
the welfare of these farmed animals
and that disease is not going to be spread from farm to farm.
If not properly managed, healthy animals could easily pick up
infections from others carrying disease.
Sometimes it's as simple as breathing the same air.
Diseases like foot and mouth are a huge health risk -
they spread quickly and are devastating to the farming industry.
The outbreak in 2001 saw around ten million animals destroyed
and is estimated to have cost
the UK economy £8 billion.
Although outbreaks like this are rare, they can happen anywhere,
so Sue wants to take a closer look at the livestock.
We're just going to have a look at the sheep now.
When you're looking for a healthy animal,
you are looking for something that's alert,
that clearly is standing in a natural stance.
It's going to have a nice bright eyes,
it's going to be interested in what's going on around it.
These look really well.
They've all got nice, clean rear ends.
So, a natural stance, bright eyes, and a nice, clean bottom...
..show the sheep are healthy and happy and not a concern for Sue.
But she still has other animals here to check.
In the cow enclosure,
they're making an extra effort to clean up in today's competition.
Who have you brought today?
That is Lancashire Rose.
What's the little one?
-That's Teddy Bear.
Now Sue is on first name terms,
she asks to take a closer look at the cow's transportation.
-So you brought all four here this morning...
-..in this? Yeah.
Contaminated vehicles travelling large distances accelerate
the spread of devastating diseases, like foot and mouth,
so checks like this are extremely important.
It's very clean. It's the standard I would expect it to be.
You can actually see they do have drains here as well.
-Two tanks of it underneath with water.
And that's the important thing because if they were open,
the slurry would be going onto the grounds.
-There is the possibility of spreading disease...
..across the country wherever you go.
Sue has no beef with these cows or their owner.
-Well, I wish you luck today.
-Thank you very much.
But stopping the spread of disease
is about more than how the animals got here,
it's also about where they came from,
so it's time for a visit to passport control.
Good morning, ladies.
Are you dealing with the cattle passports?
-We're dealing with cattle passports.
Cattle in particular, they have passports.
Anything to do with that animal is all recorded by the farmer,
so you can see the traceability aspect of where it's been
and eventually where it ends up.
This may not be the Costa Del Sol,
but Sue still needs to carry out some spot-checks.
So, I just selected one of your animals.
It is this female here.
So can you show me where she is?
Like a human passport, cows each have a unique identity number.
The number is matched to a tag that is placed within the animal's ear.
Yeah, that's your herd number, UK 186453.
-She's the 158th calf we've had.
This four-legged tourist has Sue's stamp of approval.
But Sue has plenty more checks to carry out.
Like cattle, show animals such as horses also require a passport if they are
So, this is Firtree Royal Princess.
-What do you call her at home?
-She's a princess.
Even royalty isn't pardoned.
So, the requirements, then, are to have your animal identified by a
silhouette. With Princess, she is black all over,
so she won't have any distinguishing marks.
Princess may not have any distinctive marks,
but she does have a chip on her shoulder.
A passport could fall into the wrong hands,
and horses could be given a false identity.
But if they are micro-chipped,
there's only one single microchip and you cannot duplicate the microchip
in the horse.
And there's Princess's chip.
And it is registered. That's the coding for our country.
With show ponies, sheep and cattle all present, healthy and accounted for,
this show can go on.
When I turn up to do a farm inspection, it is very official.
So this is nice, you get that chance to be a bit more friendly and, you know,
I enjoy this part of my job as well.
From livestock licenses to health and safety.
One of the council's core services is to make sure that businesses are
complying with the most up-to-date health and safety standards.
Business compliance, Varsha speaking, how can I help?
Today, Varsha Patel is getting public protection manager Helen Whitaker up
to speed on a business hosting an extreme sport,
where safety is paramount.
This motocross track, there has been a new operator that has taken over
the track. There were some previous health and safety concerns,
but he wants us to go down and speak to him about them in detail.
Motocross is a dangerous, high octane hobby.
Even on this practice track,
riders can reach speeds of 50mph and jump to incredible heights.
So it's no surprise that 95% of motocross riders
have been injured on tracks like this.
Varsha has visited this track before,
after residents had called the council with complaints.
But now new manager Paul Smith hopes to prove his health and safety
measures meet the council's standards.
Before they brave the track,
Varsha and Helen want to check Paul's paperwork.
Before any rider goes on that track in the morning, I'll come here and
I'll check the track, make sure it's OK.
What we do is we have a pre-practice checklist.
Have you got an emergency incident plan, then?
Yep. For major incidents,
we've got every type in there.
The paperwork is in good order.
But for Varsha, being safe is also being seen.
In terms of the emergency incident plan,
you need to have it displayed so that customers can see it.
So, I can see you have got your site plan there.
-There is going to be a bigger site plan than that on there.
-That would be good.
Riders bring their own bikes to the track.
But it's Paul who has a legal responsibility to make sure the owners
aren't posing a hazard.
Not just to other riders, but also to themselves.
And what checks do you do on the bike before...?
All the levers here, you see?
They've got balls on them. So what you do if they fall off, they sometimes snap.
If that ball had broken off, we wouldn't have allowed him back on it.
There's a good chance that if someone falls on that, it is likely to pierce the skin.
Separation of spectators from fast moving motorbikes is a key concern.
Right, so, this area here that you've got roped off,
that's where the public can stand behind that?
The public aren't allowed beyond the notices.
This is a spot where a bike may run into a fence,
-and we don't want it hitting anyone in the public.
The only people Paul allows near the track are trained marshals, who
monitor every section and provide the first response in an emergency.
So the communication to your riders on site is by flags,
-from the marshals?
A yellow flag - caution, ride with care.
Red flag means stop, kill your engines.
Having checked he understands and implements his safety measures,
they turn their attention to the track itself.
On Varsha's previous visit,
she found a serious issue with a specific section,
and wants to see if her recommended improvements have been made.
The main thing previously was the embankment.
-And our worry was that riders would collide into the stone wall.
Because, at the time, there was no fencing or anything in place.
But now, he's managed to put tyres at the bends,
which is the area where they're most likely to hit if they are going to
-It's a good start, but for Varsha and Helen,
it's not nearly enough.
A large area of the wall is still exposed and could pose a danger to
riders. The tyres need to stretch the full length of the wall
to make it safe.
-The tyres, they need to be there as soon as possible, don't they? Cos this is the other bend.
Obviously, it's an ongoing project.
This is going to be done within the next week or two.
-Obviously, you can see here, we've decided to put chestnut pailing up.
This is going to continue right to the corner here.
-The white fence you can see, it's actually quite sharp.
All this is being removed.
Paul recognises that he needs to do more,
and Varsha and Helen need to see evidence of change fast.
So, you're going to get that done, then? You can send us some photos.
They've agreed an action plan and will be back in 14 days expecting
They brought up issues. We've tried to address them. We've not got everything perfect first
time. We're working with the council to get everything in place and
make it a safe environment for everybody.
Coming up: Will Paul manage to make enough changes to prevent serious
accidents on the track?
Young lives are riding on it.
The worst-case scenario,
you're looking at really serious injury or possible death.
There are 433 councils in the UK,
and they've all got one thing in common - cutbacks.
Government austerity measures have seen local authority budgets cut by an
estimated £18 billion,
affecting vital services such as health and social care.
Times are tough, but not everyone is happy with how councils are coping.
Just because there's cuts doesn't mean to say they shouldn't be
operating efficiently, although nobody wants cuts, obviously.
I'm not happy with the council at all.
I think, to be fair, because of the way it's gone, the way it's run,
they're spending millions of pounds on buildings when they could be
spending on other things, helping people out.
I think the councils are having a really difficult time at the moment
because of the levels of cuts they are facing,
which means it's really hard for them to provide the basic services and
still provide all the social care services that are essential.
The health and happiness of residents is a primary concern for councils,
and one way Wigan Council are finding solutions to cuts to social care is
by joining forces with the emergency services.
Martin Coyne and Stephen Phillips are part of the
Community Risk Intervention Team, otherwise known as CRIT,
a new scheme run by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service,
and supported by Wigan Council.
Together as a partnership, we thought,
how can we access these people earlier on
before they reach emergency services?
And that's the idea of the CRIT,
that we've got people going out into the person's home environment,
and hopefully doing some preventative work with them and hopefully stop
them from coming into local authority adult social care later on.
The team's work is twofold.
They reduce the pressure on the emergency services by being first
responders to low priority emergency calls,
and help the council by providing a range of preventative support.
All you can see here is our fire prevention stuff.
We fit smoke alarms, we hand out bedsheets that are fire retardant.
This is our trauma bag.
We respond to medical emergencies.
It could be anything from slips, trips and falls to cardiac arrests.
Every year, the ambulance service responds to
700,000 calls from older
people who have fallen and need help fast.
This is 10% of the total calls made to the service.
One man who's been forced to make regular calls for help is 84-year-old
You have fallen once or twice.
Once in the middle of the night,
and in the doorway in there.
-Once in the hall.
-After another recent call to emergency services,
Stephen and Neil are en route to install a handy device to help keep him
-on his feet.
I gather you asked for a handrail somewhere.
It's here that's important.
-On that side?
We'll let you choose exactly where and what height.
I had to send for a crew to lift me up the other week.
Is that why you got referred?
-From the chair to my Zimmer.
-Right, I see.
-Was that the ambulance...
-I was here all afternoon, I couldn't lift myself up.
A simple thing of just putting a grab rail,
it suddenly improves people's quality of life
and enables them to do things that, without them, they were really
struggling to do. It's not a big thing, but it is satisfying, really,
knowing that you can just do a little bit that makes somebody's life that
bit better for them.
With a new handrail fitted, Robert is steady on his feet
and feeling good.
That's better, isn't it?
This may seem like a small job,
but it will reduce the chance of people like Robert making an emergency call.
That's a godsend to us because I spend most of my time in my back room.
It's my little den.
Even Mrs Sharples is impressed.
Oh, it's lovely! It looks posh.
With a hand rail fitted,
two more residents can feel more secure in their homes.
Stephen and Martin are now free to assist with rapid response calls for
the rest of their shift.
Environmental enforcement officer Alex Kay has been tackling a double
whammy of rubbish and rats in a back yard.
He called in colleague and veteran vermin expect Colin Evans to root out
where the rats were coming from.
A rat would chew through tarmac no problem whatsoever.
They found a weak spot and they've tunnelled out.
Rat runs found, Alex focused on removing the rodents' hiding place.
He gave the homeowner 28 days to clear the yard
or face the bill and a fine.
We've done all we can by the letter of the law,
so it's just a waiting game now.
Three weeks later, the rubbish hasn't been removed.
Some jobs are pretty straightforward, you know,
you turn up and there's a problem, there's waste accumulation.
We speak to the homeowners and we're able to get the waste cleared.
Other jobs are not so straightforward, like this one.
It's frustrating for Alex.
Legally, 28 days have to pass before the council can step in
and clear the rubbish.
But the rats' route to refuse is about to become roadblocked.
Their access to the alley is through a weak spot in the drain wall,
so Gary Williams and Wayne Gough from the council's highways team are here
to take action.
We're just trying to investigate to see what's, erm,
making the collapse. If it's anything serious.
So we'll go from there.
The drain is damaged.
And Gary and Wayne need to dig deeper to assess it.
But they've barely started when disaster strikes.
I think the water main is going across...
The connection is going across their hole.
That might have something to do with it.
There are more than 210,000 miles of
underground water pipes in the UK.
Enough to go around the world eight times.
The maze of water works are mapped, but if the plans aren't precise,
then a pipe can easily be damaged by nearby digging.
Sometimes the plans are wrong and they're slightly off.
You might have nicked a water or a drain.
-Either one of them.
-Because of the leak,
Gary and Wayne have no choice but to call in the local water company.
In the meantime, they battle to bring the burst pipe under control.
It doesn't seem like it's flowing as hard as it was.
We still have to make this safe
and make sure it's all secure for the public.
The homes still have a water supply, and the risk of flooding has passed.
But there's no end in sight for the beleaguered residents of this street.
Colin steps back into the breach.
Obviously they've not sent a team back yet.
Which I'll be chasing them up for, and giving them a bit of earache.
Animal health officer Sue Keane McPartlin is out on her rounds.
But this time she doesn't quite have the fun of the fair.
Today, she's inspecting a local dog boarding kennels licensed
by Wigan Council. To operate,
the owners must be complying with all licence conditions.
And the best way to check this - turn up unannounced.
The reason I carry out unannounced visits is because
I'm able to see the
kennels, how they're working in a day-to-day situation.
Nothing's been prepared for me.
I'm going to see, basically, the kennel today as it is, warts and all.
If anything's going on that shouldn't be going on, I'll find it today.
All boarding kennels in the UK must
be licensed by their local council.
In Wigan, there are nearly 30 licence holders.
They must prove that they have adequate facilities to cater to the
animals' daily needs, and keep them healthy and safe.
They could have their licence revoked, face a fine of up to £500 and,
in extreme cases, even prison if the licence conditions aren't being met.
Hello, good morning. Mr Higginbottom?
Hi, it's Sue, I'm the animal health inspector from Wigan Council.
-I've just come to do an interim inspection in relation to your
-boarding establishment licence for dogs.
-That's fine, yeah.
-Can we start going through?
-Yeah, of course you can.
The first signs are good.
I can see there that you have got the licence displayed.
And what about your records of your clients?
All the records are kept on computer. Then any booking forms are done daily.
And have you printed this off from your system?
Yeah. So I'll have when the vaccinations are due from the vets,
and all the records from the home and how long they're staying.
-OK. And this is one of the vaccination cards that you will actually take in?
It's vital that all dogs entering boarding kennels have up-to-date
If they haven't, diseases like canine parvovirus
and distemper can spread from dog to dog easily.
And with potentially devastating results.
This particular dog, leptospirosis, parvovirus and distemper -
it's been vaccinated against those diseases.
-The kennels seem to have strict standards when it comes to an
animal's medical history.
They only accept vaccinated animals.
You know, you know that your dog is not going to be put at risk by coming into
contact on the same premises with an unvaccinated animal.
The paperwork may be in order,
but will Sue be happy when she inspects the kennels?
I'll be looking for things like mixing dogs that are not from the same home.
You can understand there's quite a high disease risk there.
I'll be looking that the kennels are
cleansed and disinfected properly.
I need to see nice, happy, healthy dogs.
-How many kennels do you have?
-We've got 24 kennels.
And each kennel, some can hold one dog, some hold two,
and some can hold three. I never mix any dogs from separate families.
OK, excellent. That's good, that's what we recommend as well.
I think the average family now has
-two dogs, don't they?
-I've got five!
That's a big family, yeah.
With five dogs of his own to look after, as well as all his other guests,
Mr Higginbotham has a big job on his hands.
Will his hygiene levels live up to Sue's expectations?
They've all got water available,
the tiling area to the wall and above is capable of being cleansed and
disinfected. The floor is good as well,
you can see it's got a nice fall away into this gutter here.
Which actually runs down into a grid.
So there's no urine or anything
passing through into another dog's
kennel. So that's excellent, that's really good.
They're practically ensuite.
I'm really pleased with these kennels.
The kennels are ticking all the right boxes,
and so far are not only satisfying the terms of the license,
but are also going the extra mile with an outdoor area.
I'm just looking at the dog that's out at the moment.
He's got a lovely shiny coat, he looks happy, his tail is wagging.
But I must say, this is above what is required,
so it's quite clear that the owner of this premise
takes looking after the dogs really seriously.
But Sue still has one more question to ask.
I've been noticing your fire extinguishers around the place.
It's good. Do you have a fire plan?
Not on paper, but we know if there is a problem or there is a fire
-to evacuate them all and take them all over in the far...
The licence requires that a written fire plan be in place.
In case of an emergency, the evacuation procedure
and meeting points need to be crystal clear to ensure
the staff know the routine to get the animals out quickly and safely.
-You're capable of having 40 dogs here as well, aren't you?
So you really need a written plan in place
-that everybody is familiar with.
-Maybe one in each block,
so it says in case of fire where you are all to go,
-just in case the dogs need to be...
-Yeah. I'll get one sorted out..
It's a concern. But based on the attention to detail she's seen
everywhere else, Sue shows her bark is worse than her bite.
You know, unannounced visit, you didn't know I was coming,
but you've been able to show me everything.
You had your records handy, and I'm very pleased.
-It's a good kennel.
-Glad to hear, thanks.
-Thank you very much.
Sue returned less than a week later
and the fire evacuation procedure had been clearly displayed.
There we go.
I understand the reason the spot checks are done,
cos you've got to make sure
the dogs' and animals' welfare is coming first.
It is right that this kennels is licensed. I would personally say,
don't leave your animal anywhere that is not a licensed premise.
Environmental health inspector Varsha Patel
and public protection manager Helen Whitaker have been tasked
with checking safety standards at a local motocross track.
Following their first inspection, Varsha had serious concerns
about an exposed brick wall that posed a big risk to the riders.
Our worry was that riders would collide into the stone wall.
Manager Paul had partial barriers in place.
Obviously it's an ongoing project.
-This is going to be done in the next week or two.
-But it wasn't enough.
The tyres need to be there as soon as possible, don't they?
Cos this is the other bend.
It's been two weeks since the initial inspection.
And they're back to see if Paul has made headway with the wall.
-Hi, Paul, hi, Matt.
-Hi. Are you well?
-Nice to see you.
The wall runs along one entire side of the track.
It's a big job, but has Paul provided the right
protection in this short amount of time?
As you can see we've removed the white fencing, the plastic stuff.
-You put the green netting on there now to replace that.
We've extended the chestnut paling,
and if you look behind you can see
we covered the wall you were concerned about with tyres
and we dressed it to make it look a bit more presentable
-with the green netting.
-So that goes along the embankment then.
You can see about three quarters down there's a gap of about
25 yards that we need to fill.
-The tyres have been dropped off at that line.
Paul has made excellent progress, but the wall needs to be
completely covered before Varsha and Helen can sign it off as 100% safe.
It is a dangerous sport.
The worst case scenario would be somebody coming around here at speed
and going straight into a stone embankment.
You're looking at really serious injury or possibly death.
That would be the worst case scenario, which is absolutely
neither what he wants not what we want, nor anybody coming here.
Nobody wants that.
So it's really important that you have this sort of thing in place.
It's time for Varsha and Helen to deliver their final verdict.
It's a lot better than it was, isn't it?
There are some improvements that you still need to make.
So if you can inform us when you've done those, maybe send us
-some photos and then take it from there.
-We'll call it a day. Thank you very much.
-Nice to see you again.
With motor sport, you can't eliminate all the risks.
There are risks to riders.
But we can make sure as regulators that we can make the track and
the procedures and the management of the track as safe as possible.
Over four weeks ago, council officers Alex Kay and Colin Evans
responded to a call from local resident Barbara Paige
about a rubbish-filled yard that had attracted rats.
Instead of having it removed like they should do
or taking it to the tip themselves, they're just using this as a tip.
Colin managed to sniff out the rats' route,
but it hasn't all been plain sailing.
Alex has also had issues in locating the house owner
to get the rubbish cleared.
Hopefully they'll get in touch with me, but if not,
in 28 days we'll have a resolution anyway.
28 days later, with no response,
Alex had no choice but to take action.
He's tasked a council team with completely clearing the yard,
and he's back to check their work.
Marvellous. Completely clear, all the waste's gone.
Yeah, I'm happy with that. It's a good job.
When councils are forced to take action in situations like this,
they make sure owners foot the bill sooner or later.
If we get no response from the person that owns the property
and we don't get any payment,
Wigan Council will put a charge on the property via the Land Registry,
which means that once the property is sold,
Wigan Council will get its money back first before
the remainder of the balance will go to the person who owns the property.
Getting a bill is never nice,
but one resident who's happy with the outcome is house-proud Barbara.
I'm pleased they've done it, very pleased.
You felt itchy and creepy if you went near it, it were that bad.
And you think, God, how've I ended up living near that?
Alex's work is done.
But Colin's half of the job still has a gaping hole in it.
So what's happened here?
They've done a repair on this water pipe,
but obviously they've not sent a team back yet.
But once that's filled in, we're done, aren't we?
Get that filled now, Tarmacked up, job's a good'un. Sorted.
I'll be chasing them up, giving them a bit of earache.
Yeah, no probs. Cheers, pal.
Colin heads back to the council
to give the utilities company a polite hurry-up.
Three weeks later, and the hole still hadn't been filled in.
It's been a busy shift for Wigan's council officers.
They've got revved up over a risky motocross track...
The tyres need to be there as soon as possible, don't they?
Checked livestock licences and made sure pets are properly cared for...
-I wish you luck today.
-Thank you very much.
-See how the job goes.
And made a vermin problem vanish.
Have a look. Nice and clear.
-No sign of any rats.
All this when residents called the council.
Council officers in Wigan battle against rubbish and rodents in a backyard, inspect the health of all creatures great and small at an agricultural show and assess the safety of adrenalin seekers at a motocross track.