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Fly-tipping data messed up by unclear definition

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Half of all fly-tipping incidents in England occur in Liverpool, if the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' latest fly tipping statistics are to be believed.

Flycapture results for April 2006 to March 2007 reveal there were 2.6 million incidents of fly-tipping, up 5% on 2005-6. 1,289,410 incidents were reported by Liverpool City Council.

But Liverpool City Council argues that it was the only council to include single black bags of household rubbish left out on the wrong day for collection

More than three quarters of the fly-tips involved household waste, but when Liverpool was excluded this dropped to 56%, a 10% decrease on 2005-6.

A spokesman for Liverpool said: “We believe that we have been reporting the fly-tipping problem correctly. If people put out their rubbish on the wrong day it becomes fly-tipping, because the bags will be disturbed and will attract rodents.

If Liverpool had not considered this type of incident as fly-tipping the number of incidents recorded by the council would have dropped from 554,084 to 13,983.

The spokesman added: “It is clear that other authorities have not been doing this and we have agreed with DEFRA that in future this type of activity will not be included in our figures.”

Enforcement actions taken by local authorities, excluding Liverpool City Council increased 46% to 357,829 cases.

The government is developing legislation to give local authorities and the Environment Agency powers to stop, search and seize vehicles used to commit fly-tipping offences.

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