House of Commons, Westminster Hall Debate
“Reducing fly-tipping” (Neil Parish, Con, Tiverton and Honiton)
- 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.
- 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 part of 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 do not act or inform the local authorities about the fly-tipped waste, they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste in a “double jeopardy” situation which is simply not fair. Countryside Alliance members, including farmers and rural businesses, frequently face having to clear up fly-tipped waste from their land and are having to resort to drastic measures to deter the crime such as leaving machinery or other objects in front of gates and field entrances. 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.
- Crime is a key issue for rural communities yet those communities feel that policing is often focussed on their urban neighbours. Residents and business in the countryside pay as much, and often more, per head of population for policing and deserve equal treatment to their urban counterparts. Rural crime, including fly-tipping, must be taken seriously by the police and local authorisation.
Countryside Alliance Position:
- Improved access to Civic Amenity sites: extension of opening hours; locations; and overhaul and standardisation of admission policies, to encourage lawful disposal of waste.
- Greater support for landowners: anti-fly-tipping measures; utilisation of compensation orders; and closer working relationships with local authorities in recognition to particular problems caused by waste fly-tipped on private land.
- Increased investment in education: 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.
- Fly-tipping statistics for England 2016/17, compiled by Defra, show the following information:
- For the 2016/17 year, local authorities in England dealt with around 1 million (1,002,000) fly-tipping incidents, a 7% increase from the previous year.
- Two thirds (67%) of fly-tips involved household waste. Total incidents involving household waste increased by 8% from 2015/16.
- The estimated cost of clearance for fly-tipping to local authorities in England in 2016/17 was £57.7 million.
- Local authorities carried out 474,000 enforcement actions in 2016/17, costing around £16 million, a decrease of 20,000 actions and £0.9 million in cost from 2015/16.
- These statistics are based on fly-tipping incidents reported by local authorities in England, and exclude the majority of private-land incidents.
For more information please contact:
Head of Policy
0207 840 9250
Political Relations Manager
0207 840 9260
Download a copy of this briefing here.