Fly-tipping cases remain at over 1 million a year

Fly-tipping cases remain at more than a million a year despite a dropoff during Covid lockdown

  • There were 1.09 million fly-tipping cases last year, down 4% from the year before
  • The most common instances of fly-tipping were on the road, accounting for 43%
  • Read more: 1 in 400 fly-tipping offences were prosecuted in the past decade 

The number of fly-tipping incidents remained above a million last year – despite levels falling from an all-time record during lockdown.

England saw 1.09 million incidents in 2021/22 – down 4 per cent from 1.13 million during the pandemic the previous year, when council tips closed.

There was a sharp rise in the number of fines handed out, with fixed-penalty notices imposed by councils rising 58 per cent to 91,000, and court-issued fines nearly tripling from 621 in 2020/2021 to 1,798 last year.

The most common instances of fly-tipping were on roads, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures showed, with 43 per cent of the total. The most common size was a ‘small van load’ – 32 per cent of cases.

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: ‘A million-plus fly-tipping incidents is a tragedy for the environment and communities.’

Explaining the return to pre-Covid levels of fly-tipping and enforcement, the report said: ‘The first national lockdown introduced in March 2020 led to some local authorities being unable to maintain collections of dry recyclates, with some suspending garden and bulky waste collections. 

‘There was also a widespread closure of household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). HWRCs were later reopened following Government guidance on managing HWRCs in England during the Covid-19 pandemic but with some restrictions in place (e.g. booking system). 

READ MORE: Fly-tipping in England surges by 38% since 2010 with more than a million incidents recorded last year 

‘These factors and other factors such as changes in household consumption, travel and leisure patterns may have contributed to the increases seen in the number of fly-tipping incidents reported for 2020/21. 

‘Staff shortages, staff being furloughed, and staff being redeployed may also have impacted on the number of enforcement actions which were carried out during 2020/21.’ 

London remained the most common area for fly-tipping, with 46 incidents per 1,000 people, a 7% increase from 2020/2021. 

In comparison, the South West remained the cleanest region with just nine fly-tipping incidents per 1,000 people. 

More than 40% of incidents involved rubbish dumped on roads and pavements, followed by 17% of fly-tipping taking place on council land such as housing estates, parks and car parks. 

The majority of incidents involved household waste, but there was a 9% increase in those involving commercial waste and a 14% rise in dumping of single black bags. 

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