by Mo Metcalf Fisher

The latest fly-tipping statistics for England, have been published today (8th December 2021).

The latest figures show that while the number of fly-tipping incidents have increased (by 16%), the overall number of enforcement actions taken are down.

The 2020/21 reporting period covers the first year of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted on the levels of fly-tipping seen in 2020/21.

Responding to the figures, Sarah Lee, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Countryside Alliance said:

"These figures confirm the shocking scale of the problem before us. From quiet rural lanes and farmers’ fields to bustling town centres and residential areas, fly-tipping continues to cause misery across the country. It is incredibly concerning to see that despite a substantial increase in fly-tipping incidents, enforcement action is down.

"Fly-tippers, be they acting alone or as part of an organised criminal gang, need to know that their selfish actions will result in robust punishment. We must also continue to urge the public to play their part by ensuring those carrying out waste removal have the correct documentation.

"Lockdown and the subsequent closure of tips only exacerbated this situation and we would urge local authorities to think very carefully about preventing access to these facilities in future."

Key points

  • For the 2020/21 year, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20.
  • As in the previous year, just under two thirds (65%) of fly-tips involved household waste. Total incidents involving household waste were 737,000 in 2020/21, an increase of 16% from 635,000 incidents in 2019/20.
  • The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), which accounted for over two fifths (43%) of total incidents in 2020/21, the same as in 2019/20. In 2020/21, the number of highway incidents was 485,000, which was an increase of 16% from 419,000 in 2019/20.
  • The most common size category for fly-tipping incidents in 2020/21 was equivalent to a ‘small van load’ (34% of total incidents), followed by the equivalent of a ‘car boot or less’ (26%).
  • In 2020/21, 39,000 or 4% of total incidents were of ‘tipper lorry load’ size or larger, which is an increase of 16% from 33,000 in 2019/20. For these large fly-tipping incidents, the cost of clearance to local authorities in England in 2020/21 was £11.6 million, compared with £10.9 million in 2019/20.
  • Local authorities carried out 456,000 enforcement actions in 2020/21, a decrease of 18,000 actions (4%) from 474,000 in 2019/20.
  • The number of fixed penalty notices issued was 57,600 in 2020/21, a decrease of 24% from 75,400 in 2019/20. This is the second most common action after investigations and accounted for 13% of all actions in 2020/21.
  • The number of court fines issued decreased by 51% from 2,672 to 1,313 in 2020/21, with the value of total fines decreasing to £440,000 (a decrease of 62% on the £1,170,000 total value of fines in 2019/20).

The Countryside Alliance calls for:

  • 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 comprehension 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.

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