The number of fly-tipping incidents in England has risen for the first time in six years, but successful prosecutions have declined, the latest Defra figures indicate.
Over 852,000 cases were registered last year, up from around 711,500 in 2012-13, ending six years of decline (graph above).
More than 66% of incidents involved household waste, followed by unidentified waste and construction, demolition and excavation waste. In most instances the amount of materials tipped was equivalent to the size of a van load or smaller.
But while fly-tipping increased, the number of successful prosecution dropped to a five-year low at 2,001. The authorities were successful in 1,952 cases, also the lowest figure in five years (graph above).
Earlier this month, the Local Government Association called for councils to be given the power to issue on-the-spot penalties for flytipping and asked for courts to award full costs when offenders are successfully prosecuted.
The association argued that the current system was not fit for purpose and calculated in 2012-13 councils had to pay £36m in clearance costs.
Separate data from the Environment Agency (EA) also suggested there was a rise in the number of large-scale illegal dumping incidents. In 2013-14 the agency registered 137 of such cases, up from 107 the year before. However it was almost half of the 224 cases reported in 2011-12.
In 2013-14, most incidents related to construction/demolition and excavation activities (38), followed by commercial waste (30) and chemical drums, oil or fuel (23).
The Environmental Services Association was disappointed at the Defra figures with economist Jacob Hayler saying it illustrated the impact of reductions in local authority resources.
“It underlines the urgency of the industry’s call for more effort from the EA and local authorities to fight waste crime,” he said.
“The Government provided the agency with £5m this year to combat the most prominent waste criminals, but local authorities also need more resources to deal with an issue estimated to cost the UK economy £500m each year.”