‘Alarming’ fly-tipping figures are ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ – CLA

Incidents of fly-tipping on public land have increased by 2% across England in 2019/2020, according to new figures released by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

While councils in England have dealt with just under one million fly-tipping incidents during this period, these figures account for waste illegally dumped on public land reported to these authorities.

However, the vast majority of fly-tipping incidents on privately-owned land, which are thought to be “significantly more”, aren’t included.

Representing around 28,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, the Country & Land and Business Association (CLA) believes these figures do not fully reflect the severity of the situation.

Mark Bridgeman, president of the CLA, said:

“While these figures are alarming, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Cases of fly-tipping on privately owned land are significantly more than on public land so these government figures do not reflect the true scale of this type of organised crime, which blights our rural communities.

“Part of the problem is that it’s currently too simple to gain a waste carrying licence that enables firms to transport and dispose of waste – and this needs urgent reform with correct checks put in place.

“A revamped system would act as a deterrent.”

‘Sharing the brunt of costs’

Bridgeman continued:

“One CLA member, who is regularly subjected to fly-tipping, is having to pay £50,000 each year for rubbish, such as tyres, fridges, tents, barbecues and building waste, to be cleared.

Local authorities need to start sharing the brunt of these costs, and taking more responsibility for waste dumped on people’s land.

“Although the maximum fine for anyone caught fly-tipping is £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment, if convicted in a Magistrates’ Court, this is seldom enforced.

“Unless tougher action is taken to combat this kind of rural crime, it will continue to increase.”

The most common size category for fly-tipping incidents in 2019/20 was equivalent to a ‘small van load’ (34% of total incidents), followed by the equivalent of a ‘car boot or less’ (28%).

The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), which accounted for over two fifths (43%) of total incidents.