New statistics published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show the scale of the fly-tipping problem facing local authorities in the UK. The figures show that during 2014/15 there were as many as 900,000 incidents of fly-tipping – with London accounting for 40% of all incidents. The next nine biggest cities – Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland – contributed 12% of incidents combined.
In some parts of the country the problem has become so severe that farmers have to pay to have illegally dumped waste removed from their land. Some of the waste being left has included:
- Animal carcasses
In recent years the number of fly-tipping incidents had fallen, reaching a record low of 711,000 in 2012/13. The Deputy Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, Richard McIlwain, said that local authorities were not to blame and that the government needed to do more to keep local recycling centres open:
"Local authorities are not the bad guys here – they are facing really tough choices and often charging is the only way they can keep the recycling facilities open. So the government needs to help out here – they raise £1bn centrally every year through landfill tax. We are asking them to make some of this available to local authorities to help keep recycling centres open."
Mr McIlwain went on to argue that those found guilty of fly-tipping should face stronger penalties from the courts:
"The maximum penalty that magistrates are allowed to impose is £50,000 and/or a 12 month custodial sentence, yet over 60% of fines are less than £200 and 95% of the fines issued are less than £1,000. Magistrates need to impose stricter penalties to create a real deterrent"
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