Campaigners claim that a reduction in waste collection services has amplified the problem of fly-tipping waste.
Official reports indicate that fly-tipping is once again on the rise, meaning it is the third consecutive year numbers have increased.
Information from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that a staggering 936,090 incidents of fly-tipping between 2015 to 2016 was reported by councils all over England.
And no surprise, the cost for counsels to sort out the fly-tipping waste was at £49.8m.
The local authority figured put out 949,000 enforcement actions to solve the problem which plagues the towns and countryside’s, costing them £16.9m, a cutback of almost £700,000 from 2014/15.
When these figures were publicized, campaigners said that financial pressure on local councils had created a decrease in the collection of waste services, meaning people took this as a sign to illegally dumb their own waster.
Roughly half of all waste that was illegally dumped, which varies from tyres and other vehicle parts, fridges, rubble and even black plastic bin bags, was left at the side of highways.
About one third of all reported fly-tipping incidents contained the quantity of a small van load.
Councils now have the power to give “on-the-spot” fines and penalties of around £400 to those caught fly-tipping, however, not enough sufficient data has been collected to indicate if this process has helped in the reduction of fly-tipping problems.
Results from the Press Association noted that councils had given out hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fines, but over half of local English authorities had still not used these means.
Data collected from the Defray shows that fly-tipping decreased from over 1.28m in 2007/2007 to roughly 711,500 incidents in 2012/13 before gradually rising again, although the difference in numbers may be due to how local councils keep a record of their data.
In 2015/16, the Environment Agency dealt with 125 large-scale incidents of fly-tipping, which included 6 cases of asbestos being illegally dumped, 11 major tyre dumping and 26 of hazardous chemicals, oils or fuel being left to waste.
Samantha Harding, who is a litter programme director for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said this: “Financial pressure on local authorities has meant some local waste collection services have been cut and it seems people have taken this as an invitation to illegally dump their own waste.”
“There must be a review of the English waste control systems, with a new and creative programme to bring them into the modern 21st century.”
“We cannot keep wasting our precious resources like this.”
Ross Murray, who is president of Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said: “This data does not give the true picture of a horrible behaviour which ruins our gorgeous countryside.”
“Local councils usually do not get involved with the removal of fly-tipping waste from private properties, in turn leaving the owner of the land do deal with the clean up and sort out the bill.”
Members of the CLA reported a massive rise in fly-tipping, with occurance varying from unwanted furniture to broken utility machines, building material and even toxic asbestos being abandoned within the countryside, he claimed.
The CLA is asking for a no-tolerance approach by local councils to fix the issue, enforcing new and bigger fees, meaning powers to give fixed penalty fees and apprehend vehicles are used and decreasing council fees to properly get rid of the waste.
Judith Blake, a local Government Association environment spokesperson, said: “When social care is faced with a gap of nearly £2.6b by the year 2020 and councils’ overall financial situations is predicted to reach about £5.8bn within the next few years, the local councils are needing to spend a large amount on dealing with litter problems and fly-tipping each year.
“This money would be better spent on pivotal frontline services. To litter and fly-tip is to vandalise the environment – it is not pleasant, it’s unnecessary and not acceptable in today’s society.”
She agreed with the government’s decision to grant councils the power to give out fixed fees for smaller fly-tipping incidents.
Other means would also help with the issue, like manufacturers offering a ‘take-back’ service so that customers can return old furniture and utility machines when they are going to buy a new one, she went on to say.
A spokesperson from Defra said: “Fly-tipping ruins communities and causes a risk to the health of humans, animals and the environments, which is the reason why we are focused on sorting out this relentless behaviour so others can then enjoy a healthier and cleaner country to live in.
“Recent powers to give out £400 fixed fee notices and improvements in technology, which includes being able to report via mobile, have helped local councils track down and sort out smaller scale fly-tipping reports which should be a welcome thing to hear – and 98% of fly-tipping sentences coming out as a conviction is an obvious sign to anyone that illegally disposing of waste is a crime.”