Nearly 1 million fly tipping incidents reported last year as councils introduce rubbish collection charges

Katie Morley
A fly-tipper who was caught smirking on camera as he dumped a washing machine at the side of a country lane has been fined £1,200 - © SWNS.com

Fly tipping soared by 50 per cent last year as councils reported nearly 1 million incidents, following the introduction of "complicated" charges to collect household junk.

Councils across England reported 936,090 cases of fly-tipping in 2015/16 with the number rising for a third year in a row, data from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has revealed.

The majority of items being illegally dumped on roads and in public places were household rubbish items which are too big to fit in black sacks such as fridges, tyres and vehicle parts.

Nearly £50 million of taxpayers' money was spent clearing up the mess, Defra said.

Despite fly tipping being against the law only 2,135, or 0.2pc of fly tipping cases, resulted in prosecution.

The problem of fly-tipping had been on the decline for many years, but it has been steadily rising since 2013/14. 

During this period local councils' budgets have suffered significant cuts, prompting dozens to introduce charges for the collection of bulky rubbish items which are too big to fit in the bin.

It is thought that general confusion and a widespread reluctance to pay these charges has contributed to the rise in fly tipping. 

For example Newham Council in London has recently introduced a £20 charge for bulky items collection, despite the service previously being free. 

Meanwhile Barnet council charges "special collection charges" for white goods and electrical items. White goods are charged at £47.70 for the first item and a tired charge per additional item up to £185.15.

Charges are also made or non-electrical household items such as mattresses and sofas which are charged at £57.70 for the first item up to £196.90 for 10 items.

Cardiff council charges £12.50 for up to two items and £37.50 for between 5-6 items. Keep Britain Tidy chief executive

Allison Ogden-Newton said: “These statistics are shocking but not surprising. Local authorities are fighting a daily battle with criminal fly-tippers who are making money by treating our country like a rubbish dump.

“We know that people do not want to live in places blighted by rubbish and this weekend hundreds of thousands of them will be taking direct action by rolling up their sleeves to take part in the Great British Spring Clean and do their bit to help the country clean up its act."

Cllr Judith Blake, an environment spokeswoman for the Local Government Association, said: “At a time when councils’ overall funding shortfall is predicted to reach £5.8 billion within three years, local authorities are having to spend a vast amount each year on tackling litter and fly-tipping.

This is money that would be better spent on vital front line services. Litter and fly-tipping is environmental vandalism – it’s unpleasant, unnecessary and unacceptable."

"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."   

A Defra spokesman said: “Fly-tipping blights communities and the local environment, which is why we are committed to tackling this anti-social behaviour so everyone can enjoy a cleaner, healthier neighbourhoods and countryside."

“New powers to issue £400 fixed penalty notices and advances in technology, including mobile phone reporting, have all made it easier for local authorities to clamp down on small-scale fly-tipping which should be welcomed, and 98pc of fly-tipping prosecutions resulting in a conviction is a clear warning to anyone involved in serious waste crime.” 

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