Incidents of fly-tipping on public land have increased by two per cent across England in 2019/2020, according to new figures released by Defra.

While councils across the country have dealt with just under one million fly-tipping incidents during this period, these figures account for waste illegally dumped on public land and reported to the authorities.

They do not, however, account for incidents on privately-owned land, where the majority of these crimes are committed, and it is believed that the inclusion of those instances would significantly increase the figures reported.

Representing around 28,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, the Country & Land and Business Association (CLA) believes these figures do not fully reflect the severity of the situation.

Ann Maidment, director of CLA South West, said: "While these figures are alarming, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

"Cases of fly-tipping on privately owned land are significantly more than on public land so these government figures do not reflect the true scale of this type of organised crime, which blights our rural communities.

"Part of the problem is that it’s currently too simple to gain a waste carrying licence that enables firms to transport and dispose of waste – and this needs urgent reform with correct checks put in place.

"One CLA member, who is regularly subjected to fly-tipping, is having to pay £50,000 each year for rubbish, such as tyres, fridges, tents, barbecues and building waste, to be cleared.

"Local authorities need to start sharing the brunt of these costs, and taking more responsibility for waste dumped on people’s land.

"Although the maximum fine for anyone caught fly-tipping is £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment, if convicted in a Magistrates' Court, this is seldom enforced.

"Unless tougher action is taken to combat this kind of rural crime, it will continue to increase."

Some of the key points included in the report are as follows:

  • For the 2019/20 year, local authorities in England dealt with just under 1 million (976,000) fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 2 per cent from the 957,000 reported in 2018/19.
  • Just under two thirds (65 per cent) of fly-tips involved household waste and the total number of incidents involving household waste were 632,000 in 2019/20, an increase of 7 per cent from 588,000 in 2018/19.
  • In 2019/20, 33,000 or 3 per cent of total incidents were of ‘tipper lorry load’ size or larger, which is a decrease of 8 per cent from 36,000 in 2018/19.
  • Local authorities carried out 474,000 enforcement actions in 2019/20, a decrease of 26,000 actions (5 per cent) from 501,000 in 2018/19.
  • The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), which accounted for over two fifths (43 per cent) of total incidents in 2019/20.