Fly-tipping clear-up cost hits almost £50m as incidents rise


The problem of fly-tipping across England has worsened for the second year in a row, costing taxpayers almost £50 million to clean up, official figures show.

The number of incidents rose 5.6% in 2014/2015 on the previous year, with local authorities forced to deal with 900,000 incidents, compared with 852,000 in 2013/2014.

The costs of clearing up illegally dumped waste, two thirds of which was household rubbish, in places such as streets, alleyways and council land was nearly £50 million, a rise of almost £5 million on the year before.

It is the second rise in fly-tipping incidents in as many years, after years of the problem declining.

The Environment Department, which collects the data from councils, said the rise could reflect improvements in gathering information on flytipping as well as a genuine increase in incidents.

Almost half of all fly-tipping (48%) involved rubbish dumped on highways, while 28% of the illegal waste dumping took place on footpaths, bridleways and back alleyways.

Nearly a third of incidents consisted of a "van load" of illegal waste, and 30% involved a car boot's worth of dumped rubbish, the statistics show.

And it was revealed that local councils carried out almost 515,000 enforcement actions against fly-tippers, costing an estimated £17.6 million, a £300,000 increase on the previous year.

Fly-tipping in public areas is only part of the problem, with private landowners also facing a huge bill to clear up waste illegally dumped on their land.

Nature charity the Woodland Trust said its costs to clear up fly-tipping had risen again this year, to an estimated £27,982 in 2015, compared to £22,850 in 2013 and £24,427 in 2014.

The charity, which owns and manages more than 1,000 woods across the UK, said it had recorded 112 fly-tipping incidents on its land so far this year.

Some of the waste they have found has been very unusual, including at Gorse Covert Mounds, Cheshire, where waste from a cannabis farm was found just days after volunteers had cleared up other fly-tipped rubbish.

At Scroggs wood in Cumbria, slurry and milk waste have polluted a stream, while at Nidd Gorge in North Yorkshire, a dead deer was left in a car park.

In total the Woodland Trust said the cost of clearing up litter and fly-tipping had cost it £767,707 since 2010.

Norman Starks, Woodland Trust UK operations director, said: "Fly-tipping is an illegal activity that currently costs us tens of thousands of pounds each year to clear up.

"This means that a collection of mindless individuals are preventing us from caring for and improving our native woods for the benefit of local communities and wildlife."

Fly-Tipping Rises Again as Taxpayers Face Multimillion Pound Clear-Up Bill