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Has There Been an Increase in Fly Tipping?

Research shows that one in eight UK residents admits to illegal fly-tipping. But despite hefty fines and potential repercussions, why do people fly-tip?

Illegal waste disposal has been a problem for years, but recent years have seen a notable increase in fly-tipping incidents nationwide.

According to the latest government data, 976,000 fly-tipping cases were reported from April 2019 to March 2020, an increase of 2% from the 957,000 in the equivalent period spanning 2018-2019. London had the highest average number of fly-tipping incidents per 1,000 people at 40. At 9 cases per 1,000 people, the South West had the lowest.

Key Figures for 2019-2020

The following are the latest fly-tipping statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ 2019-2020 report:

  1. Fly-tipping in highways, pavements and roads accounted for over 43% of total incidents, making them the leading target sites for illegal dumping.

  2. The number of highway incidents from 2019 to 2020 was at 419,000, up 6% from the previous year.

  3. The most common size category for fly-tipping cases was similar to a ‘small van load’ followed by the equivalent of a ‘car boot or less.’

  4. 33,000 or 3% of total fly-tipping cases were of ‘tipper lorry load’ size or larger. The cost of clearance for these larger cases amounted to over £10.9 million.

  5. Apart from the usual household and commercial waste, 30% of all fly-tipping incidents consisted of green waste, electrical waste, vehicle parts, animal carcasses, chemical drums, oil and fuel, asbestos clinical waste and rubbish from construction, demolition, and excavation.

  6. Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) saw a significant increase in families and individuals looking to dispose of unwanted belongings. In fact, 632,000 or 65% of total fly-tipping cases in 2019-2020 involved household waste, an increase of 7% from 588,000 incidents in 2018.

2020 & Beyond: The Impact of COVID-19 on Fly-Tipping

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the stockpiling of food, gloves, gowns, masks and medical equipment resulted in unusually high waste production from UK households. Approximately 85% of HWRCs closed due to staffing shortages and social distancing concerns, which in turn may have encouraged more people to resort to rampant dumping, incineration, and open burning.

Improper waste management not only damages the environment but also poses health risks to humans and wildlife. Economy-wise, areas subject to frequent fly-tipping may experience declining property prices and local businesses may suffer from decreased foot traffic.

Litter and Fly-Tipping Prevention

District councils are trying new ways to curb fly-tipping in their areas. For instance, Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council are proposing pedestrianisation to keep roads safer and prevent criminals from dumping their rubbish on public roads.

In Kent, surveillance cameras seem to be the best weapon against fly-tipping. Following the installation of a new camera, fly-tipping cases have fallen by 99% in a famous hotspot in Dartford. In the past, over 30 fly-tipping cases were detected here each week. However, since February of this year, the new camera has only issued 16 fines which have all been settled.

Prevent Fly-Tipping in Your Area with MS Webb

Fly-tipping costs taxpayers a lot of money and puts the health of the entire community at risk.

At MS Webb, we offer the following services to help property owners and local authorities prevent future fly-tipping cases:

  1. Property management solutions

  2. Bailiff and security services

  3. Waste removal and site clean-ups

  4. CCTV and intruder alarm system management

  5. Installation of concrete blocks and bollards

Get in touch today to learn more about our fly-tipping solutions.


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