Rubbish fly-tipped in a field© Tim Scrivener

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is calling for the appointment of a national “fly-tipping tsar” as latest figures from Defra show the problem has worsened for the fourth year in a row.

Annual figures issued on Thursday (19 October), show there has been another 7% increase in the dumping of waste on roads and public land over the past 12 months, with local authorities in England reporting more than a million cases.

See also: Fly-tipping survey results revealed

According to the data, the most common place for fly-tipping to occur is on the public highway, but about a third of incidents were on footpaths and bridleways.

The most common type of fly-tipping involved household waste (67%), while the most frequent size category is described as “a small van load”.

The total cost of clean-up is put at almost £58m, with another £16m spent on enforcement actions.

Private land 

But the Defra figures only cover incidents reported by local authorities and exclude fly-tipping on private land.

This means the figures massively underestimate the true extent of the problem – as well as the cost, which has to be borne by landowners.

“Fly-tipping is just getting worse and worse. It is a national disgrace,” said CLA president Ross Murray. “Prosecutions for this crime are ludicrously low, and have decreased by a further 25%.”

He urged government to take a much more active role in tackling fly-tipping.  

“Greater penalties should be imposed and enforced, including seizing fly-tippers’ vehicles, and victims should be better supported,” said Mr Murray.

“We are calling for the appointment of a national fly-tipping tsar to coordinate and oversee a more pro-active effort to get to grips with this national disgrace.”

The blight of fly-tipping prompted Farmers Weekly to launch a “Stop the Blot” campaign earlier this year, aiming to raise the profile of the problem and encourage tougher enforcement.

Survey

A survey, conducted in association with the CLA, showed that almost two-thirds of farmers have been the victims of fly-tipping, with the average clean-up cost put at almost £850.

Respondents blamed council charging householders to dispose of certain types of waste as a major reason for the increase in fly-tipping on farms.

Most report incidents to their local authority, but there is frustration at the lack of follow-up action and the poor rates of prosecution.

According to the latest Defra figures, local authorities carried out 474,000 enforcement actions in England in 2016-17, which was down 20,000 on the year.

But the number of fixed penalty notices increased 56% to 56,000 following a change in the law in May 2016, which gave local authorities more power to take such action.

CLA’s five-point plan for tackling fly-tipping

  1. Impose and enforce penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime
  2. Enforce fines for home and business owners whose waste is found in fly-tipped locations
  3. Appoint a national “fly-tipping tsar”
  4. Develop new ways to clear up and support victims
  5. Promote education and working in partnership

Stop the Blot

Fly-tippers are ruining our countryside and clean-up costs are crippling farm businesses. That’s why we have launched our Stop the Blot campaign to help raise awareness of the damage caused by fly-tipping and tackle the growing epidemic on farms.