Fly-tipping incidents in England surpass one million

Councils in England dealt with more than one million fly-tipping incidents last year, the latest Defra figures reveal.

The number of fly-tipping incidents dealt with by local authorities from April 2018 to March 2019  increased by 8% year-on-year.

Dumping on highways (pavements and roads) accounted for almost half of incidents (46%).

See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… fly-tipping

Local authorities carried out 499,000 enforcement actions and issued 76,000 fixedpenalty notices – an 11% increase on the previous year – which totalled just over £1m.

More than a third (33%) of all fly-tipping incidents in 2018-19 were equivalent in size to a small van load. “Tipper lorry load”-sized incidents are the most expensive to clean up, comprising just 3% of incidents (36,000), but costing councils £12.9m.

Huge costs

However, they do act as a barometer and show that after a static year in 2018, the crime has returned to a long-term upward trend.

Sarah Hendry, director general of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said: “These statistics do not fully reflect the reality of the situation, as many fly-tipping incidents take place on privately owned land. 

“They also don’t show the huge emotional and financial cost of this crime. Our members are all too tired of not only cleaning up other people’s rubbish, but paying for the privilege of doing so.

“It costs on average £1,000 to clean up each incident. With many rural businesses suffering multiple incidents, it can quickly affect the bottom line dramatically.”

Stop the Blot

In 2017, Farmers Weekly teamed up with CLA Insurance for our Stop the Blot campaign to lobby government for more action to curb fly-tipping in the countryside.

The campaign called for tougher penalties for waste criminals, and the pilot of a ticketing scheme at waste recycling centres to allow farmers to deposit fly-tipped waste dumped on their land for free.

It also urged changes to the law to ensure that landowners are no longer legally liable when waste is fly-tipped on their land.

“This needs to be coupled with financial and logistical support to help victims clean up waste which has nothing to do with them,” Ms Hendry added.