Fly-tipping is probably one of the most unattractive habits. Not only is it ugly to see, it can also be an expensive cost for the nation. Between 2018 and 2019 it cost local authorities £12.9 million to get rid of a number of fly-tipping incidents, only 3% of the total incidents in the country.

As statistics revealed, there has been a rise of fly-tipping by 8% since 2017/18, and it has expanded 50% since 2012/13. Alongside this huge increase in the last decade, 62% of this fly-tipped waste was found to be household waste. The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was along pavements and roads.

Trends in the total number of  fly-tipping incidents in England
Source: Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, ‘Fly-tipping statistics for England 2018/19’

The fact that bin collection across the country have experienced reductions in services does not justify the ugly habit of throwing black bags on the roads at night! But is there a different culprit for us to be aware of?

Are deterrents working?

At the moment, a person risks being fined a maximum of £50,000 for fly-tipping is £50,000 in addition to the risk of a five-year prison sentence. But, according to a report by the Guardian, while on-the-spot fines are on the rise, the number of people being prosecuted to the highest level for fly-tipping is staggeringly low: only two people have received the maximum fine, and in the last six years, 83% of fines were under £500.

Fly-tipping prosecution outcomes in England

Interestingly, the number of prosecutions has not increased significantly despite the increase in fly-tipping offences. To compare 2012/13 with 2018/19 again, even though the number of fly-tipping offences increased 50% from 715 to 1,072, the number of total prosecutions for the crime have only increased by 9%, from 2,170 to 2,397. The number of successful prosecutions has actually dropped since 2012/13 too, from 98.8% to 96.2%.

Is a more rigid response from law enforcement required in order to tackle the issue? Plus, addressing the problem after the act of fly-tipping has occurred won’t solve the crisis. Addressing the root causes of the increase will certainly be more effective in reducing the rate of fly-tipping.

As we said above, it’s unlikely that we’re intentionally dropping bin bags full of rubbish on the roads. But are we always aware of where our rubbish is going?

Unintentionally fly-tipping?

The saying “if it sounds too good to be true” applies to several situations. Facebook adverts are certainly one of those things. With bin emptying services cut down in many areas, it’s understandable that people are turning to social media and small business offers to help keep the rubbish from piling up in their homes. Go on Facebook and you’ll find an abundance of cut-price waste removal offers, usually from one person with a van. Sadly, many of these services are not legitimate: the Guardian also reported how one such advert on Facebook resulted in a £3,275 fine for a man in Wiltshire after it was revealed his waste clearance service was, in fact, simply him picking up people’s rubbish to fly-tip later. People were paying for this man to come and clear away their rubbish responsibly, unaware that he was simply pocketing the money and throwing the rubbish out into the street.

How to help tidy up Britain

Everyone wants to save money. But these cheap, unregulated deals on social media can land you with a hefty fine of your own, meaning you’ll pay more in the long run for trying to get your waste cleared on the cheap. Instead of taking the risk, hop on Google instead of Facebook and search for cheap rubbish clearance there instead! There are plenty of registered, professional waste removal companies that can clear away your household waste responsibly, cheaply, and most of all, in a way that doesn’t damage the environment at all.

Skip Hire’s waste clearance expert, Richard Walker, advises to be aware of your waste, even if it’s no longer at your doorstep:

“The responsibility of waste disposal doesn’t transfer across when you pay someone to dispose of your waste. Sadly, many customers believe this is where their responsibility ends. However, it’s the duty of the person that creates the waste to ensure it is disposed of responsibly and in the correct manner. And this means that you must use a reputable business that is legally allowed to transport your waste, and that they dispose of it in a legally compliant way. It’s your job to ensure all this happens, so make sure you do thorough checks! If it seems too good to be true — it very often is. The real cost could be much higher if you’re caught cutting corners when it comes to waste disposal.”

Let’s do our best in throwing fly-tipping in the bin this 2020! It’s easy enough — pick legitimate, registered waste carriers to help you clear away your household rubbish and rest easy knowing you’re not going to end up being an unaware fly-tipper yourself!

 

Sources:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845171/FlyTipping_201819_Statistical_Release_FINAL_Accessible.pdf
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/04/tougher-penalties-needed-curb-surge-fly-tipping-uk-councils
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fly-tipping-council-responsibilities

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