'Outrage' after surge in fly-tipping that's 'ruining lives' in Essex town

File image of fly-tipping on a street
-Credit: (Image: Matt Lismore / SWNS)

A local group of residents have been left outraged by the "growing problem" of fly-tipping that "blights the lives of residents". Exclusive figures shared with EssexLive show there have been almost 1,000 incidents of fly-tipping recorded by Chelmsford City Council since the start of 2023/24.

Data for the most recent complete year showed there were 709 incidents recorded in 2023/2024. That's slights higher than the 640 recorded during 2021/22 when the country was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic but significantly higher than the 284 recorded in 2018/19.

Scott Wilson, chair and leader of the South Woodham Ferrers Residents' Party, obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request and said: "These worrying fly-tipping figures show we have a growing problem to do with fly-tipping which blights the lives of our residents and costs thousands of pounds to deal with."

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The local resident suggested a link between the rise in fly-tips and a change to recycling centres in Essex. Residents now have to use a booking system to access recycling centres in a move similar to processes in neighbouring counties Suffolk and Kent.

Mr Wilson said: "Since the introduction of Essex County Council's bureaucratic and unnecessary booking system fly-tipping has increased dramatically and we call on both Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Council to investigate."

Scott Wilson, chair and leader of the South Woodham Ferrers Residents' Party, says fly-tipping "blights the lives of residents"
Scott Wilson, chair and leader of the South Woodham Ferrers Residents' Party, says fly-tipping "blights the lives of residents" -Credit:Scott Wilson

A spokeswoman for Chelmsford City Council said: "We are aware fly-tipping is a problem throughout the county. Our community protection team is working hard to combat the issue, alongside our partners at Essex County Council and Essex Police. The team is also working with local housing associations to create solutions and to educate residents and offenders about the consequences of fly-tipping.

"If you see anyone fly-tipping or find evidence of it, please report it online at chelmsford.gov.uk or call 01245 606606 and ask to speak with Public Health."

Data held by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) shows there were almost 20,500 incidents of fly-tipping across Essex during 2022/23.

A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “The reasons why people choose to fly tip are complex and varied, with a number of factors influencing people's decisions National studies carried out by DEFRA did not identify any link between the need to book a visit to a recycling centre and levels of fly-tipping.

"The booking system in Essex has been successful in reducing congestion and queuing, and we will continually refine it in response to feedback to make it as easy to use as possible. We have seen tremendous uptake of recycling centre bookings across Essex, with plenty of capacity over the next few weeks available in Chelmsford.

"Essex County Council is committed to working with all partners to tackle fly-tipping. There is never any justification for fly-tipping. It is a criminal offence that can result in prosecution. Fly tipping should always be reported to the relevant district council so it can take appropriate action swiftly."