The amount of waste being fly-tipped across England each year could stretch from London to Moscow, new analysis by the Local Government Association reveals.
The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils across England and Wales, is warning that the cost to taxpayers of clearing up fly-tipping rose to £57m over the last year – a rise of 13%.
Council leaders want the Government to help councils tackle this scourge, by introducing a scaled-up and speedier approach to punishing fly-tipping.
New analysis by the LGA into the nation’s fly-tipping crisis reveals:
- In 2016/17, there were 492,139 incidents of fly-tipping reported to be the size of a van or truck
- If these vehicles were parked one behind the other, then the amount of waste would be able to circle the M25 twelve and a half times over
- It would also stretch the length of Wembley football pitch 22,446 times over.
The extent of the nation’s fly-tipping problem is revealed as councils call on the Government to “urgently streamline” the courts and prosecution process for offences, which are blighting communities up and down the country.
LGA – “We need to make sure that when councils take offenders to court, a faster, more effective legal system ensures that serious fly-tipping offences result in hard-hitting fines.”
The LGA said it is good that the Government has recently allowed councils to apply fixed penalty notices to fly-tippers. However, council leaders say streamlining the process of prosecuting the worst offenders is essential if local authorities are to be able to recover the costs of prosecutions and truly tackle fly-tipping.
Currently, when taking offenders to court, councils have to cover the full cost of successful prosecutions, with fines resulting from these convictions being paid directly to the court, rather than the councils who have to clean up the mess.
Recovering costs through these fines is costly and can even take years, which often means councils end up making a net loss on every successful prosecution. With councils in England facing a funding shortfall that will exceed £5bn by 2020, this is unsustainable.
Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Environment spokesman, said: “Fly-tipping is unsightly and unacceptable environmental vandalism. This new analysis shows the scale of the fly-tipping epidemic we face in this country. It’s an absolute disgrace for anyone to think that they can use the environments in which our residents live as a repository for litter.
“Councils are determined to protect local environments. New fixed penalty notice powers from the Government will help but every single conviction for more serious fly-tipping offences still results in council taxpayers having to pick up the bill.
“We need to make sure that when councils take offenders to court, a faster, more effective legal system ensures that serious fly-tipping offences result in hard-hitting fines.
“Manufacturers can also contribute, by providing more take-back services so people can hand in old furniture and mattresses when they buy new ones. Councils are determined to end the scourge of fly-tipping and always urge residents to report fly-tipping as soon as possible.”
Corby Borough Council experienced over 1,750 fly-tipping incidents reported over the last year and have successfully prosecuted a number of perpetrators. The council has placed a huge focus on tackling fly-tipping and were able to reduce incidents of it by 4 per cent year-on year, through enforcing prosecutions and educating the public. The borough is determined to tackle the scourge but have seen increasing costs in their local area, with it costing an estimated £38,000 to collect and £46,000 to dispose of in 2016.
The Dorset Waste Partnership is an initiative involving local authorities across Dorset. It has recently launched its “Tip-off” campaign, aiming to inform local residents about how best to report illegally dumped rubbish. A series of county-wide roadshows will raise awareness of the tell-tale signs of fly-tipping and how to report them to the relevant authorities. Estimates by the Partnership indicate that clearing this waste costs around £150,000 a year.
The Buckinghamshire Waste Partnership has successfully prosecuted 660 fly-tipping offences since it was established in 2003. Since April 2010, the Partnership has delivered a successful conviction once a week, on average. Recently, four dumpers were prosecuted for tipping on a known waste hotspot in the area through surveillance footage, including one mass dumping of furniture and other waste in a field. One individual who dumped two chairs and some drawers in a picturesque country lane was fined almost £2,000 for doing so, and another offender who dumped a huge amount of carpet waste in a woodland. The Partnership works closely with local partners including Thames Valley Police and the local council enforcement teams to ensure fly-tipping is tackled as effectively as possible to ensure Buckinghamshire is both thriving and attractive for their community.