The number of fly-tipping incidents in England have risen 7% at a cost to councils of £57.7m, according to the latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
In 2016-17 fly-tipping incidents dealt with by local authorities in England topped the one million mark, the first time it has done so since 2008-2009.
The estimated clearing-up costs to councils rose by 16% over the previous year, LGC’s sister title Materials Recycling World reports.
It was also revealed that local authorities are choosing to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) rather than pursuing potentially expensive enforcement action.
Use of FPNs rose 56% to 56,000, but overall enforcement actions – including investigations and warning – fell by 4% to 474,000. The total cost of enforcement fell 5% to £16m.
The number of prosecutions for fly-tipping offences fell by a quarter, from 2,135 in 2015-16 to 1,602 in 2016-17.
The number of fines issued fell to a 10-year low of 1,318, but the number of custodial sentences increased from 18 to 28.
Household waste accounted for two-thirds of all incidents, with the most common incident involving “a small van load” of waste.
Fly-tipping of white goods has been rising steeply over the past four years. Around 55,000 incidents involved white goods in 2016-17, compared with 13,000 in 2012-13.
Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Enough is enough. It is time to give councils the resources they need to tackle this problem head-on, using some of the proceeds of the landfill tax.
”We also need the people of Britain to stop treating our country like one giant tip, to take responsibility for their unwanted stuff and make sure that, if they give their waste to someone else to dispose of, they are going to dispose of it legally.
“This fly-tipping epidemic is the reason we launched our #CrimeNotToCare campaign in March this year, to help local authorities educate their residents and enable them to do the right thing.”
Martin Tett, Local Government Association environment spokesman, said: ”The government has responded to our call for councils to be able to apply FPNs for small scale fly-tipping – and this is a big step in the right direction.
”When they take offenders to court, councils need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences.
”Manufacturers also need to provide more take-back services so people can hand in old furniture and mattresses when they buy new ones.”