A major increase in the numbers of fly-tippers prosecuted by local authorities has been greeted with praise by countryside conservation bodies – but the Government has issued a stern warning that more needs to be done.
There were 2,460 prosecutions in England least year for illegal dumping and reported incidents fell by 18.7%, - the second drop in two years - and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has congratulated local councils on their increased efforts against the scourge.
Samantha Harding, CPRE’s Stop the Drop campaign manager, says: “These results show that councils are making real progress in the fight against fly tipping. They show that a consistent approach to dealing with fly tipping through prevention and enforcement can lead to real savings to the public purse.
“With councils now facing budget pressures we hope that they will not stop their drive to end fly tipping but step it up as a way to cut costs in the long run.”
However, there is one major flaw in these figures: they only include illegal dumping on publicly owned land whereas most fly-tipping happens on farm land. Farmers have to pay for the huge costs of clearing up the mess, which is a major headache for landowners in areas like the Yorkshire Dales which are surrounded by major towns and cities, source of most dumped rubbish.
The cost to councils of clearing the mess on public land is approaching £50 million, a figure which is causing concern at the environment department Defra and that does not include the many millions more, probably double, being met by angry farmers.
Says Environment Minister Lord Henley: “We’re encouraged by the efforts being made by local authorities to tackle fly-tipping but there is no room for complacency. A total of nearly 947,000 incidents is unacceptable by any standards and fly-tipping is clearly still a significant problem. We must all work together to stamp out this continuing blight on our neighbourhoods.”