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Fly-tipping on the rise

England saw a 20 per cent increase in fly-tipping incidents in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13 with upward trends in most incident size categories. Single bag incidents were the only size category not to see an increase in incidents. That is according to the latest Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) stats.

Peter Box, the Local Government Association (LGA) Environment Spokesman, said: “The rise which these latest figures reveal, underlines the urgent need for councils to be given tougher powers to tackle this problem. The cost to taxpayers of enforcement actions has increased to over £17 million a year and in many cases councils are unable to reclaim the full costs of prosecutions. Currently, councils can only take fly-tippers to court rather than issuing fixed penalties – when sometimes this is would be a more appropriate and cost effective response. These could be handed out for offences likes dumping items, such as pieces of broken furniture, old televisions and mattresses.

“This is why we are calling for the current system – which works against councils – to be reformed. We need a new streamlined system which helps councils and hurts those doing the dumping, one that is nimble, flexible and effective. Chasing down the culprits and clearing up their mess costs taxpayers tens of millions of pounds every year. Not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents, it is also a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.”

Local authorities dealt with 852,000 incidents of fly-tipping in 2013/14 in England, ranging in size from single black bag to tipper lorry load. Over 33 per cent were small van load size and near half, 47 per cent were on highways. Incidents of fly-tipping on footpaths, bridleways and back alleyways increased 15 per cent in England. Together these now account for 29 per cent of fly tipping incidents. The estimated cost of clearance of fly-tipping to Local Authorities in England in 2013/14 was £45.2m, a 24 per cent increase on the year before. For the statistics in full visit the Defra website.

While two-thirds, 66 per cent of fly-tips were household waste (pictured – a mattress dumped in a lane in southern Derbyshire), almost 6 per cent of fly tipping incidents (50,000) were of construction, demolition and excavation waste, up by almost 20 per cent from 42,000 the year before. White goods dumping significantly increased from 13,000 incidents in 2012/13 to 34,000 incidents in 2013/14, an increase of 152 per cent. For some waste types, such as green waste or electrical goods, it is not necessarily possible to tell whether they originated from households or businesses.

Some local authorities have introduced new technologies; such as on-line reporting and electronic applications as well increased training for staff and have explained this as a factor in the increase in the number of incidents reported.

About the offence

Fly-tipping is the illegal deposit of waste on land contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Local authorities and the Environment Agency both have a responsibility in respect of illegally deposited waste. Local Authorities have a duty to clear fly-tipping from public land in their areas and consequently they deal with most cases of fly-tipping on public land, investigating these and carrying out a range of enforcement actions. The Environment Agency investigates and enforces against the larger, more serious and organised illegal waste crimes.



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