Incidents of fly-tipping have increased noticeably in England, according to the latest government figures, which cover the 2013/14 period. A House of Commons briefing paper Fly-Tipping: The Illegal Dumping of Waste, released on 9 May, outlines the scale and nature of the problem, as well new fixed penalty fines being introduced to tackle it.
The paper references Government statistics showing that local authorities reported around 852,000 cases of fly-tipping in England in 2013/14 and that the Environment Agency dealt with a further 137 illegal waste dumping incidents. This represented an increase of 20% since 2012/13. In 2014/15, reported cases in England increased again by 5.6%. Local authorities reported around 900,000 cases of fly-tipping in England and the Environment Agency dealt with a further 151 illegal waste dumping incidents.
In 2014/15, the estimated cost of clearance of fly-tipping to local authorities in England was nearly £50 million, says the document, and it costs local authorities in Wales nearly £2 million per year. Various sources have estimated the cost of fly-tipping on private land as between £50 – £150 million a year.
New fixed penalty fines are being introduced on 9 May to help tackle the problem in England and Wales. Local authorities have the powers to issue fines of between £150 and £400 for small-scale fly-tipping incidents. These fines are in addition to the legal consequences of more substantial incidents which are criminal offences punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates’ Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to 5 years’ imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court.
Increasingly, the burden of cost is being borne by private landowners, suggested VPS, a property security and support services company which employs specialist teams to clean and clear rubbish and waste from properties and surrounding land.
“Private landowners may not realise it, but it is their responsibility to remove fly-tipped waste and dispose of it legally, and at their expense. They can be fined £5,000 and a further £500 per day if they don’t,” said Gavin Pringle, managing director of the firm. “It makes economic and environmental sense to implement measures that prevent fly-tipping in the first place and introduce stronger perimeter security, which might include CCTV.”