The UK has a fly-tipping and litter problem. Last year there were 1 million incidents of fly-tipping in England, the equivalent of nearly 114 every hour, and at a cost to local authorities of £58 million. This represents a 7% increase from the previous year and the fourth year in a row that fly-tipping has increased. It is having a significant impact on our rural areas and wildlife, with the RSPCA receiving 7,000 calls a year about litter-related incidents affecting wild animals.
Enough is enough and we must work together to tackle this blight which is why we are encouraging you to tell Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, about the impact fly-tipping has on the countryside. Mr Parish is leading a debate in Parliament on 17 April on reducing fly-tipping and wants to hear your experiences.
The Countryside Alliance has long campaigned on the problem of fly-tipping in the countryside. Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime and government figures on fly-tipping only tell half the story as official figures on the number of incidents on private land and the associated clear up costs are patchy. Evidence suggests that private land owners spend upwards of £47 million a year clearing up fly-tipped waste, however this figure is widely accepted to be on the low side.
Private landowners are liable for any waste dumped on their land and are responsible for clearing it away and paying for the cost of disposal. If they don’t act, they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste which is simply not fair. At the moment, it is often more expensive for the victim to remove the fly-tipped waste from private land than the cost of the fixed penalty notice.
The Countryside Alliance believes local authorities should fulfil their legal obligation to clamp down on fly-tipping and make it easier for people to dispose of their waste legally. While preventative measures play a part in reducing fly-tipping it is clear that more needs to be done to bring those who perpetrate it to justice. Many local authorities find it easier to dispose of the waste rather than find the culprit, but this sends out the wrong message to fly-tippers.
The Countryside Alliance believes there should be:
- Improved access to Civic Amenity sites: extension of opening hours; locations; and overhaul and standardisation of admission policies.
- Greater support for landowners: anti-fly-tipping measures; utilisation of compensation orders; and closer working relationships with Local Authorities.
- Education campaign: raise awareness of responsibility amongst individuals and businesses.
- Tougher penalties on perpetrators: imposing and enforcing penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime, such as seizing vehicles used to fly-tip, is vital.