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Action to beat fly-tipping must match best performing councils, says minister as new figures released

Waste minister Joan Ruddock called on councils to emulate the best performing authorities in tackling fly-tipping, as the Government released Flycapture figures today. Results from the national fly-tipping database, for April 2006 to March 2007, covering 354 English authorities, showed increases in incident reporting and that more action has been taken to tackle them. However, Ruddock said that while this demonstrated increased vigilance, this was only the first stage in tackling the issue and that councils must do more. Local authorities (LAs) in England reported that they had dealt with more than 2.6 million incidents, which is up 5% on 2005-06. Nearly half the incidents, 1,289,410, were reported by Liverpool City Council. However, results may have been skewed by residents, primarily in Liverpool, incorrectly putting out black bags for collection. To ensure a clearer picture, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has given results with and without data from Liverpool. Defra found that enforcement action taken by LAs, excluding Liverpool, increased by 46% to 357,829 cases. While the figure including Liverpool, was only 16%. Half of all fly-tips recorded involved single black bags. But, when Liverpool is excluded, the figure only dropped to 48% of fly-tips on the highway and 53% were the size of a car boot or small van load. Household waste made up 77%, of fly-tips, which is a 5.4% increase on 2005-06. But when Liverpool is excluded, the figure falls to 56%, giving a 10% increase on 2005-06. Recognising best practice Ruddock said: Councils as diverse as Sheffield, Worthing and Milton Keynes are driving down fly-tipping through targeted, concerted action. I want other councils to follow their lead. Government has a role to play in this by continuing to provide and update the tools and guidance to enable action to be taken. And the public and businesses must also play a part by reporting incidents and dealing with their waste responsibly. An estimated £24.6 million is being spent by LAs on enforcement action against fly-tipping. Excluding Liverpool, the figure is £17.8 million. A large proportion, 93%, of fly-tipping takes place in urban authorities where 63% of people in England live. This figure is still high, 88%, when Liverpool is excluded. Looking at commercial waste, when Liverpool data is excluded fly-tips of black bags have fallen by 10% on 200506 from 59,630 to 53,566. This may, in part, be due to an increase in business inspections carried out by LAs, from 12,450 in 2005-06 to 25,745 in 2006-07. LAs also carried out 1,371 prosecutions in 2006-07, of which 94% were successful.

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