New figures show huge impact of fly-tipping across South East

More than 100,000 incidents across region in just 12 months - and that's only on public land
Colin Rayner fly-tipping Berkshire 1
Recent fly-tipping in Berkshire.

Newly-released figures from Defra show that there were more than 100,000 incidents of fly-tipping on public land in the South East in just 12 months.

Councils in England dealt with 1.08 million fly-tipping incidents in 2022/2023, though these figures only account for waste illegally dumped on public land that has been reported to the authorities.

Many fly-tipping incidents occur on privately-owned land, painting an even more damaging picture of the financial burden and environmental impact fly-tipping brings. One CLA member is so badly affected he pays £50,000 a year to clear up waste.

Meanwhile the figures also show a 19% drop in the number of fixed penalty notices issued.

CLA South East represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight.

Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “These fly-tipping figures are truly depressing and really show the scale and impact of the problems farmers and rural communities face.

"With the number of fixed penalty notices decreasing, criminals will continue to dump waste unless the various enforcement agencies take this more seriously."

South East members have their say

Laurie Wates says the Dunsfold and Cranleigh areas in Surrey suffer an “excessive amount” of fly-tipping. She said: “It is like there is absolutely no law enforcement around this in our area. This is meant to be the beautiful Surrey Hills and it is not.

“The government just does not seem to take this crime seriously. I have reported eight fly-tips since June on a few lanes in our area.”

Rob Duggan, estate manager at Godinton House in Kent, said: “The issue of fly-tipping remains a constant frustration, with the inexcusable and systematic dumping of both household and trade waste continuing to blight the local landscape.

“Significant estate resources are voluntarily expended regularly clearing litter and removing mounds of rubbish from gateways, laybys and verges, with waste ranging from black sacks of grass clippings to old sofas and, more commonly, construction and house clearing waste. It’s disheartening that visitors to and from Godinton House must first travel down a lane strewn with rubbish, an issue that only seems to be becoming more frequent.”

Sam Biles, who farms in Calbourne, Isle of Wight, has seen numerous items dumped in the village. He said: “The lanes here are not busy and are frequently the scene of fly-tipping. In the last year there have been tyres, broken glass, fridges and builders’ waste dumped in the various laybys.

“It is such a shame – we are in the heart of the island’s National Landscape and it really detracts from the beauty of our environment. However vigilant we are as a community the fly-tippers continue their thoughtless activities.”

Colin Rayner, who farms in Berkshire and Surrey, suffers fly-tipping on a weekly basis. He said: “We feel we have been abandoned by the law makers and law enforcers. Fly-tipping is a very expensive, ugly plague on the countryside and landowners.”

Tim Hayward, farm manager at Woolley Park near Wantage in Oxfordshire, said: “We have consistent dumps of builders’ and household waste, car parts, tyres and furniture.

“We border two local authorities, one of these has more stringent measures at their recycling centres than the other, which leads to more dumping. Local authorities are also draconian in their responsibilities of clearing rubbish from the highways and not from private land.

“Most citizens detest the blight of fly-tipping.”

Simon Porter, who farms in Crondall, Hampshire, has experienced a series of fly-tipping incidents. He said: “Fly-tipping in the countryside is still a major issue and takes up time and effort in either liaising with local councils or clearing up and disposing of the rubbish ourselves.

“Once again, this Christmas has seen a resurgence of black bin liners filled with household waste of all types being thrown out of cars along some of our country lanes and in the gateways. Builders’ rubbish being dumped would be the next major cause of fly-tipping in this part of Hampshire.”

Sue Green, joint owner and partner of the Montreal Estate near Sevenoaks in Kent, said: “Fly-tipping is a complete scar on the countryside, although the Country Eye app is a great support. Fly-tipping gnaws away at society’s values and has to be actively dealt with, and if possible the culprits hounded down and prosecuted hard.”

Nick Jones, agent at Glynde Estates in East Sussex, said: “Fly-tipping continues to be an ongoing issue for us. Only this week our grounds staff had to clear up a heap of miscellaneous material tipped into a field down in South Heighton, and before Christmas there was a burnt out car in a field in Tarring Neville which we then had to sort out.”

Hallam Mills, of the Bisterne Estate near Ringwood, Hampshire, said: “The fly-tipping around here is appalling, frequent and we just have to do most of the clearing up ourselves. There seems to be no policy and no action.”

Rob Duggan Godinton House Kent 1
Fly-tipping at Godinton House in Kent.