New statistics show the continued blight of fly-tipping

07 November 2019

Fly-tipped waste

Figures released today by Defra show that incidents of fly-tipping on public land have increased by eight percent across England in 2018/19 with more than one million fly-tipping incidents in the last year.

The figures account for waste illegally dumped on public land that has been reported to, and cleared by, local authorities. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents around 30,000 rural businesses, farmers and landowners in England and Wales, says the figures do not reflect the true scale of the crime as they do not include reports of fly-tipping on privately owned land. However, they do act as a barometer and show the crime is still widespread across the country.

CLA East covers the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk. Across these counties there has been more than 110,000 fly-tipping incidents on public land. A breakdown for every local authority can be found here.

Commenting on the figures, CLA East Regional Director Cath Crowther said: “These statistics do not fully reflect the reality of the situation, as many fly-tipping incidents take place on privately owned land.

“They also don’t show the huge emotional and financial cost of this crime. Our members are all too tired of not only cleaning up other people’s rubbish but paying for the privilege of doing so. It costs on average £1,000 to clean up each incident. With many rural businesses suffering multiple incidents, it can quickly affect the bottom line dramatically. You also have to consider the potential risk of dumped waste on livestock and wildlife.”

More than a third (33 percent) of all fly-tipping incidents in 2018/19 were equivalent in size to a small van load. ‘Tipper lorry load’ sized incidents are the most expensive to clean-up, with just three percent of incidents (36,000) costing councils £12.9 million to deal with. Across all local authorities in England, 76,000 fixed penalty notice fines were issued, which only totalled just over £1 million.

Cath Crowther added: “We need a joined up approach to the issue. The sheer volume of fly-tipping incidents is a clear indication that there is not an effective deterrent to stop people committing this crime. There must be tougher and more frequent fines issued if any headway at all is to be made in tackling this issue.

“We need to see some changes to the law and ensure that landowners are no longer legally liable when waste is fly-tipped on their land. This needs to be coupled with financial and logistical support to help victims clean up waste which has nothing to do with them.

“Finally, we need more education and to raise awareness of the issue.  Many people don’t know they can be fined if their waste is found illegally dumped.  We’d like to remind them to check their waste is being taken away for disposal by a licensed carrier.”

The CLA has long-campaigned for tougher sentences for perpetrators, and more support for the victims, of fly-tipping. Read the CLA’s five point fly-tipping action plan here. View and download Defra’s fly-tipping figures here.