Defra has therefore published a new guide illustrating some easy steps to help councils nip this form of fly-tipping in the bud.*
Small piles of black bin bags, sofas and TVs have become commonplace at the end of many streets.
Released today, the latest data from the national fly-tipping database, Flycapture, shows the bill to clear up these small scale tips is now in excess of£2.5m every month.
Much of the rubbish is dumped through lack of, or ignorance of, services.
Councils are therefore being urged to look at fly-tipping as a chain of events that begins when a product is made and ends when it is dumped on a street corner.
This is in contrast to the current situation, where 81 per cent of the costs involved in fly-tipping are spent on clearance, with prevention and enforcement accounting for just seven and 12 per cent respectively.
Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said:
'Councils have tended to concentrate on clearance. That is vital, but there needs to be more emphasis on preventing fly-tipping happening in the first place.
'Prevention, coupled with coming down hard on those who are caught fly-tipping, could help reduce the problem and save money.'
The Defra good practice guide offers councils advice on how to redress the imbalance. It is based on the findings of a research project, by the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, into the causes and incentives of fly-tipping.
This showed that while there are a few incorrigible offenders fly-tipping on a commercial scale for big profits, there is a far greater number of occasional offenders.
Although it was the latter group that accounted for more than half of the£50 million spent on cleaning up fly-tips in 2005/06, they are more easily deterred.
Councils are therefore encouraged to develop an understanding of what drives fly-tipping, what encourages it and what facilitates it. Only then can they assess what can be done to stop it.
Mr Bradshaw added:
'The Jill Dando Institute has provided some useful guidance on prevention.
Simple actions such as better collection services or longer opening times at local tips are often shown to make a real difference.
'This can be combined with further discouragement through CCTV and publicising the potential fines for fly-tipping, which have been increased through the recent Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act.'
Defra's guide illustrates a five-point plan for local authorities to combat fly-tipping:
Decrease rewards: Avoidance of waste disposal Consider free bulky
costs waste collection,
councils to ensure
Enhance risks: Fly-tipping is not seen as CCTV, publication
a risky crime ofsuccessful
Focus services: Distance to tips and long Try extending
queues can be frustrating opening hours,
demand and offering
Remove excuses: One fly-tip can often be Communicate the
seen as an excuse for waste services
others to add to it available
for their waste and
Address hotspots: Sometimes it is easier to Reduce the
fly-tip than dispose of availability of
waste legally popular fly-tipping
To compliment the Guide and increased powers available to councils through the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, Defra will also soon be launching a fly-tipping enforcement training programme for local enforcement officers and council lawyers helping them to improve their skills to deal with the blight of fly-tipping.
Data for the 'big, bad and nasty' fly-tips which the Environment Agency has responsibility for will be published later this summer.
Flycapture is the national database of fly-tipping incidents that has been set up by Defra, the Environment Agency and the Local Government Association to get a better picture of the problem of illegally dumped waste.
Local authorities and the Environment Agency are legally required to submit data to Flycapture under a notice in writing issued by the Secretary of State in April 2004.
In 2005/06, local authorities in England reported that they had dealt with an average of 89,173 incidents of fly-tipping each month.
Fly-tipping is not just small incidents though as over half of the£50m per year cost was due to clearing fly-tips equal to small van and Transit van-size loads of waste. The Environment Agency focuses on dealing with the larger scale, more serious incidents of waste crime and illegal disposal.
86% of fly-tipping takes place in predominantly urban authorities where 63% of people in England live and more than half of fly-tipping occurs in the 88 local authorities identified as Neighbourhood Renewal areas.
Local authorities are continuing to developing their capacity to take enforcement action against fly-tippers. Flycapture has started to record these actions and shows that nearly 1,500 prosecutions were taken against fly-tippers between April 2005 and March 2006.
Flycapture also provided a 'Vehicle Hot List' to help authorities work together to identify vehicles involved in waste crime.
Research project & Good Practice Guide:
Defra commissioned the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, part of University College London, to carry out a comprehensive project that resulted in the research report looking at the causes, incentives and solutions for fly-tipping. The project also produced the Good Practice Guide for preventing fly-tipping.
The Good Practice guide is the result of extensive work by the researchers looking at a selection of local authorities that have been particularly innovative in their attempts to prevent and deter fly-tipping and waste crime. It includes detailed examples and advice for local authorities in tailoring services and enforcement to ensure fly-tipping is designed out and future offenders are deterred.
Both documents will be available on the Defra website:
Further information about the Jill Dando Institute can be found here:
Fly-Tipping & Waste Crime:
Fly-tipping is the illegal disposal of waste without a waste management licence but is a wide offence. Fly-tipping can range from a single black bin bag up to thousands of tonnes of construction and demolition waste.
A survey by MORI in 2003/04 asked 'What makes somewhere a good place to live?' Clean streets came third behind only health services and low levels of crime. Another recent MORI poll on attitudes to Respect and anti-social behaviour identified litter and rubbish as a key issue for the public.
Defra is reviewing the Government's Waste Strategy and the revised document will include a chapter on waste crime and illegal waste disposal. This shows the importance of tackling fly-tipping and waste crime in a holistic, strategic way and encourages more joint-working between stakeholders and enforcement authorities.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, was a key component in Defra's strategy to deal with fly-tipping.
Initial measures were automatically commenced on 7 June 2005, followed by further measures on 18 October 2005. Some other measures were commenced in April 2006. More details at:
Waste Duty of Care & Waste Carriers
The Government is keen to ensure that producers of waste take responsibility for ensuring their waste is managed without harm to human health or to the environment. An effective duty of care regime can help to reduce waste crime and fly-tipping.
Defra is in the process of carrying out a comprehensive review of the waste duty of care regime. The review will also consider amendments that can be made to the waste carrier registration system. A policy consultation document is currently being finalised and will be published later in the year.
The review has been set up in response to suggestions that the system is not working effectively and concerns from the Regulator that the regime is not effectively delivering the policy objectives of ensuring waste is safely and legally transferred.
The review will result in the update of the duty of care and waste carrier regimes, including existing regulations & related guidance with a view to simplifying the regulation to the end user.
Flycapture Enforcement - local authority capacity building
Defra has funded the Environment Agency to develop a programme of work to improve local authority skills. The Flycapture Enforcement project will aim to improve efforts in prosecuting fly-tippers, the threat of a prosecution being a real deterrent to those intent on disposing of their rubbish illegally.
The content of the programme has now been developed and piloted with the intention that it will be made available to local authorities later in the year.
More details will be available on the Defra website:
Local authority officers can now register their interest for the Flycapture Enforcement courses by e-mailing: