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Councils in England reported one million fly-tipping incidents in 2016

UK News | Published:

Clearing up fly-tipped waste cost councils nearly £57.7 million last year.

More than a million cases of fly-tipping were reported by English councils last year, as incidents of illegal waste dumping rose for the fourth year in a row.

Local authorities across England recorded 1,002,154 cases of fly-tipping in 2016/2017, up 7% on the previous year, official statistics show.

Fly-tipping incidents ranged from dumping bags of household waste, fridges and other white goods to construction rubble, tyres, asbestos and even animal carcasses.

Around two thirds (67%) of fly-tipping cases were household rubbish, the figures reveal.

Fly-tipping
(PA Graphics)

Clearing up fly-tipped waste cost councils nearly £57.7 million last year, while they carried out 474,000 enforcement actions, costing around £16 million.

A spokesman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: “Fly-tipping is an unacceptable blight on our landscape, which is why we have cracked down on offenders by strengthening sentencing guidelines and giving councils the powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers.

“We have made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized and will continue to work with local partners to stop this inexcusable crime.”

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Most of the councils reporting the highest number of fly-tipping cases were London boroughs and big cities such as Manchester and Liverpool.

The latest figures come after the Government gave councils new powers to issue “on-the-spot” fixed penalty notices of £150 to £400 for small-scale fly-tipping in May 2016.

A Freedom of Information request from the Press Association to English councils revealed that they had issued thousands of the new penalties in the first year of the scheme, but that around two-fifths had not used the powers at all.

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The new figures from Defra show that the overall number of fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping, which also include fines for littering, duty of care and anti-social behaviour, totalled 56,000 in 2016/2017, an increase of 56% on the previous year.

Meanwhile, prosecutions fell by a quarter, down from 2,135 in 2015/2016 to 1,602 last year.

The most common place for fly-tipping to take place was on roads, and the most common amount of rubbish dumped was equivalent to a “small van-load”, with a third of cases falling into that category, followed by the equivalent of a car boot-full.

The figures from Defra do not include the majority of incidents of waste illegally dumped on private land, which landowners warn is a major issue for them as they are liable for rubbish left on their land, and have to pay to clear it up.

The rise in fly-tipping comes as cash-strapped councils increasingly charge households to pick up their bulky waste such as furniture and white goods, and green waste from gardens.

They are also increasingly moving to less frequent collections of ordinary rubbish which cannot be recycled, reused or composted.

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