Fly-tipping incident recorded every 30 seconds

25th February 2020

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  • Waste ,
  • England ,
  • Society ,
  • Disposal



Local authorities in England dealt with over a million fly-tipping incidents last year, or around one every 30 seconds, research by Expert Market has uncovered.

This cost councils £12.9m to clean up, with the City of London the most fly-tipped area in the UK, followed by Sheffield, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow and Redcar.

Household waste accounted for almost two-thirds of incidents, with roads and pavements the most common dumping grounds, although green areas were targeted too.

The findings come after the BBC reported earlier this month that fake companies could be hiring out buildings to dump clients' waste, costing local authorities almost £60m since 2012.

It was quite a shock to discover that almost two-thirds of fly-tipping is from households, as we expected the majority to come from businesses, said Lucy Crossfield, environmental editor at Expert Market.

However, with recent news that criminal organisations are partially behind the problem, this means that 'companies' passing as legitimate waste carriers are dumping household waste wherever they can and leaving it to landowners to report or dispose of.

The research cross-referenced data from 323 local authorities, contrasting the number of fly-tipping incidents with the population to show which areas have the most incidents per person.

It found that the average amount a council makes from fly-tipping fines is £3,355, however, there are huge disparities between areas, with Birmingham bringing in a whopping £175,643.

However, it was also found that just 0.2% of fly-tipping cases result in criminal prosecutions, with the majority of punishments simply fixed-notice penalties of up to £500.

The researchers said that the findings are particularly alarming considering one in five councils are already facing drastic spending cuts.

The public should be made more aware of how to identify a legal waste carrier, the location of their nearest tip, and information from local councils on waste clearance, Crossfield said.

Thankfully more councils are creating apps for residents to report waste, which is at least making it easier to report the problem. But the problem simply should not exist in the first place.

Image credit: ©iStock


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