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Devastating effects of fly-tipping revealed

Someone fly-tips in England and Wales every 35 seconds, costing taxpayers £100 per minute, according to figures released this week by the Environment Agency (EA).

Shocking statistics from its national fly-tipping database "Flycapture" have revealed that the EA wildly underestimated how much illegal dumping takes place in Britain.

Last year, it predicted that there were around 50,000 incidents of fly-tipping per year.

However, these latest statistics show that there are 70,000 illegal dumpings per month.

In the second half of 2004, the clear up of illegally dumped rubbish cost local authorities £24 million.

Set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the EA and the Local Government Agency (LGA) in 2004, "Flycapture" contains information fed in by local authorities and EA surveillance teams over the last six months.

LGA environmental board chairman David Sparks said: "Fly-tipping is a massive and growing problem for local authorities and their communities. Thanks to local authorities' dedication to making this database work, we can, for the first time, see the true cost of this scourge on our environment - and our pockets."

The Government is set to make fly-tipping an arrestable offence in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill and Environment Minister Elliot Morley said: "We must use this data to target our resources more effectively, improve our intelligence on the ground and track fly-tippers both within and between counties."
Morley's call for improved intelligence is a likely reference to "Flycapture".

EA chief executive Barbara Young called "Flycapture" an "enforcement tool", but an EA-commissioned report last year criticised it and said: "The "Flycapture" database is not a system designed with problem-oriented crime analysis in mind. It is unlikely to assist in the more detailed analysis of problems required to develop solutions."

The report - "A Problem Oriented Approach to Flytipping" - was carried out by the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science and concluded that an improved database was required.

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