Local authorities in England dealt with 711,000 incidents of fly-tipping in 2012/13, a 4% decrease on the previous year, according to statistics released by Defra.
The Fly-tipping Statistics For England 2012/13 show that the estimated cost to local authorities also fell by nearly 3% to £36.4m.
The number of enforcement actions also fell by 13% to 425,000.
The report states that the overall downward trend in fly-tipping could be explained by councils’ efforts into raising awareness of the problem, as well as the Environment Agency’s (EA) guidance to help reduce double counting of incidents by local authorities and waste management companies.
Fly-tipping incidents in England have now been decreasing over the past six years, and are 44% lower than in 2007/08.
However, incidents of fly-tipping on footpaths, bridleways and back alleyways increased by 10%. These now account for 20% of all fly-tipping cases in England.
Nearly 45% of all fly-tips were on highways.
Most fly-tips consisted of a small van load of material, or less, with only 3% of incidents over the size of a transit van load.
The top five fly-tipping incidents by waste type were:
- 46% - Household waste (other)
- 21% - Household waste (black bags)
- 6% - Construction, demolition, excavation waste
- 4% - Green waste
- 3% - Commercial waste (other)
The report states: “Fly-tipping is a significant blight on local environments; a source of pollution; a potential danger to public health; a hazard to wildlife and a nuisance.
“It also undermines legitimate waste businesses where unscrupulous operators undercut those operating within the law.”
Cllr Mike Jones, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Housing and Environment Board said that a new fixed penalty notice should be established for small-scale fly-tipping to allow councils to act quickly to curb the problem and avoid expensive court prosecutions.
Commenting on councils having to report fly-tipping data monthly, he added: “Given the cuts to local authority budgets it would be helpful if councils could be freed up to focus their resources on continuing to reduce fly-tipping incidents rather than spending their time reporting to government.”
It should be noted that the report does not include incidents handled by the EA, which tends to deal with larger, more serious and organised illegal waste crimes, according to Defra.
The number of large-scale illegal dumpings of waste dealt with by the EA halved in 2012/13, with 107 compared to 224 the previous year.
The EA released its Waste Crime Report this week, which said the agency had shut down a record number of illegal waste sites in 2012/13.