Countryside fly-tipping scourge: highest level in 13 years

by 43

Paths and bridleways has seen highest level of fly-tipping in 13 years – equating to 543 a day and a jump of 10% from previous year.

This information comes to us via a PR Agency, which normally raises a degree of suspicion, but we’re going to share the story because well, fly-tipping really gets on our wick!

Not only is fly-tipping an eyesore, it is also an environmental hazard that has the potential to cause injury whilst bike riding.

The UK recorded 1.1 million incidents of fly-tipping last year — the highest number recorded for over a decade, since 2008/09. Apparently, footpaths and bridleways were particularly badly affected. You may well have noticed.

Dumping of ehicle tyres rose by a quarter and people discarding vehicle parts increased by 15%. There was a 47% upturn in fly-tipping of chemical drums or oil/fuels. Offenders can be punished with a maximum fine of £50,000, or even a jail sentence.

How you can help

Those who enjoy the countryside are being encouraged to report incidents and vehicles involved in fly-tipping through the gov.uk website or FixMyStreet.

I personally find reporting fly-tipping via the relevant local council’s website to be fairly effective. But no doubt it varies council to council. Tip: use Google to find your council’s fly-tipping report page, don’t rely on council websites’ search function to work! Attaching photos and a grid reference is helpful too.

Now then, the following PR Agency-supplied quotes are possibly less-than-independent or altruistic in nature, nevertheless there’s some interesting things covered…

Hannah Poole from criminal defence firm Olliers: “Fly-tipping differs from littering as the illegal deposit of waste on land, removing the waste from premises where it was originally produced, with the deliberate aim to dispose of this waste unlawfully.

“Any individual who produces waste has a duty of care to ensure that it’s disposed of properly. This applies to both householders and businesses. If convicted, the penalties individuals may face include a fine and/or a prison sentence of up to five years.

“The Fly-tipping Partnership Framework encourages enforcement agencies, residents and landowners to act together at a local level and provide ideas. A major factor in preventing fly-tipping is promoting understanding of the potential penalties.

“There is no requirement for people to report fly-tipping, but to encourage the public to report it, it needs to be easy and individuals need to know it is worth reporting. To report fly-tipping or illegal waste dumping, individuals should contact the local council – and we need more people to do just that.”

Susie Burrage from Global Recycling Foundation: “Many villages, towns and cities have seen junk piled up high in remote spots, as people clear out their homes to make space for offices. Huge amounts of taxpayers’ money is now being spent on litter collection, which could be going to vital public services.

“Litter is pollution and people underestimate the negative impact it has. Many people wrongly believe their individual actions will not harm the environment. For example, cigarette butts (which take 10 years to decompose) leach toxic substances into soil and water. Just one cigarette butt can contaminate 200 litres of water.

“I believe fines have helped to change individual behaviour, but we must challenge and change consumer behaviour. People must be educated in the best ways of preserving our natural resources and given easy access to well-organised and efficient recycling systems.”

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Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 43 total)
  • Countryside fly-tipping scourge: highest level in 13 years
  • trailseeker
    Free Member

    Unfortunately our local council refuses to take reports from fixmystreet & they make reporting things difficult on their website by insisting you sign up, log in & leave details etc.
    They used to have a one click option of report anonymously or leave an email address for an update, but now its like they’re making it as awkward as possible.

    Kayak23
    Full Member

    It’s such a huge problem.
    I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that every single ride I do is blighted by litter/fly-tipping somewhere along the way at the moment.

    Just this morning I’ve seen another post on the local Facebook groups, ‘wardrobe, double bed and mattress want taking to the tip, inbox me best price’….
    It’s stuff like this that ends up in laybys and people don’t care. Once they’ve paid the ‘best price’ for it to be out of their house, that’s the end of it.

    thebrick
    Free Member

    Unfortunately our local council refuses to take reports from fixmystreet & they make reporting things difficult on their website by insisting you sign up, log in & leave details etc.
    They used to have a one click option of report anonymously or leave an email address for an update, but now its like they’re making it as awkward as possible.

    That is how local councils work. Spend time and effort making things as awkward as possible, frequently using outdated methods.

    mrpottatohead
    Full Member

    I’m often baffled at lengths people have gone to in order to fly-tip. I’m seeing stuff lately dumped in some pretty remote and fairly inaccessible places a long way down rutted lanes.

    I’d say my area has pretty good recycling facilities but they did introduce restrictions recently on number of visits per household and checks on being a resident in the catchment area. I suspect if they just went open doors again it might help to some degree.

    But maybe there is more they should be doing to help. I think it’s about £30 for them to come and collect large items. Easy to see why some people may struggle to dispose of some items. It’s free for pensioners, so maybe they need to extend to low income households too.

    towzer
    Full Member

    I’m not sure why you’re baffled

    https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/environment-and-planning/waste-and-recycling/household-waste/diy-waste-charges

    Also
    “We don’t collect

    Commercial waste or items designed for commercial use
    DIY waste, including fixtures or fittings.
    How to book your collection

    It costs a minimum of £47 for a collection service. For this we will take up to three items. You can book additional items (up to six) at a cost of £9 per extra item.”

    Even better is that if it’s dumped on privately owned land it’s the owners problem (*and it’s open all hours, no queues, no height barriers, no need to separate to correct bin – sort of a free 24 hours drive thru facility – what’s not to like)

    DB
    Full Member

    Towzer has it in 1 above. If you make it too hard and too expensive for people to legally dispose of waste, they will do it illegally.

    I am no expert but I’d imagine it is cheaper for the council to accept 50 sheets of plasterboard at the tip than it is to send a van and 2 blokes out to collect 5 sheets from a hedge somewhere remote.

    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    Its not surprising though, my nearest local council waste / recycling site is around a 30min drive away. You have to book in advance, usually for the following weekend if you unable to go mid week as spaces are limited. If you want to use a van you need to book at least two weeks in advance.

    Large items are 3 for £25 collected (usually within a week).

    I live rurally and we’ve had many many problems with fly tipping, abandoned cars etc. Theres been a massive rise this year which all the farmers are complaining about as many gates into fields have been blocked by fly tipping which means they can’t get in to harvest them.

    kerley
    Free Member

    The councils don’t always help themselves. Hampshire tips all have to be pre-booked (a pandemic measure that has stayed in place) and they also charge for some items (i.e. old broken terracotta garden pots I wanted to get rid of)
    While this is good for me as I am very organised and the queues are now shorter I can see why a lot of people can not be bothered with having to arrange a specific 30 minute slot at least a day ahead and then arrive at that time.
    My nearest tip is also 12 miles away which combined with planning and queuing even has me thinking why do I bother when I could just dump it somewhere around the corner!

    Kayak23
    Full Member

    Its not surprising though, my nearest local council waste / recycling site is around a 30min drive away. You have to book in advance, usually for the following weekend if you unable to go mid week as spaces are limited. If you want to use a van you need to book at least two weeks in advance.

    All true, but it still surprises me that people are that selfish, lazy and thoughtless that they’ll flytip. Even more so as above, where they not only will dump it on an offroad track, but they’ll drive a couple of hundred metres up rutted and potholed tracks just to make it even more of a nightmare for the council to deal with 😡

    There is a massive amount involved in getting all of these things/products to us, and so having the idea that we can just cast them aside once we’re done isn’t really a sustainable idea.

    I can see why councils try to encourage people to take responsibility for the waste that they create. Everyone bloody well should. However, it’s obviously not working this way.

    My council recently removed all the recycling facilities in supermarket car parks. Nightmare, and will only lead to more littering/dumping by selfish Tuesdays.

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    I am no expert but I’d imagine it is cheaper for the council to accept 50 sheets of plasterboard at the tip than it is to send a van and 2 blokes out to collect 5 sheets from a hedge somewhere remote.

    They won’t even do that – they’ll phone/call/send threatening letter to the landowner and get them to clear it at the landowners expense.

    It’s another case of make things as awkward as possible to offload responsibility.

    Luckily my local tip is OK (Derbyshire), you don’t have to book and if you walk around looking gormless you can sometimes sneak 4 bags of rubble in the building waste skip. 🙂

    Commercial/big DIY project waste should be dealt with at your own expense though. If you’re spending ££££s on a new kitchen sort the waste out too!

    StirlingCrispin
    Full Member

    It’s become a massive problem in Stirling.
    Problem is that it is then the landowner’s responsibility to remove items – and often the desire is not strong: even with a bunch of mattresses dumped in an SSSI.

    What I don’t get is dumped washing machines in the arse-end-of-nowhere.
    A local scrappie will collect from your door and thank you for it.

    But here’s my favourite story:
    Local councillor asked the council make use of low river levels and remove shopping trolleys dumped under Stirling Old Bridge.
    The council response – No because of fish nesting season.

    Isotonic cake
    Full Member

    It’s not a massive surprise – taking larger things to the tip is a bloody nuisance. I’ve got the remnants of an old timber shed plus a metal framed armchair chair I need to take to the tip. Only they are too big to get in my car. So I would need to hire either a trailer or a van. Fine. However Trailers and vans can only get slots between 08:30 – 09:00. That means you need two days hire or at least overnight hire.

    Compare and contrast the price of hiring a van / trailer overnight to dodgy Dave on Facebook with his unsignwritten van and it’s no wonder things get dumped so frequently.

    timba
    Free Member

    Councils didn’t help anyone but themselves. They were told by HMG not to charge for DIY construction waste, but around a third exploited a legal definition that says it’s industrial waste and do charge. DEFRA have also told them that it’s time to stop appointments introduced during the height of C19
    They also won’t allow pedestrians and cyclists into tips locally (H&S allegedly, despite the number of people walking between the different skips) and they’ve cut opening hours too.

    What did they expect?

    jonedwards
    Free Member

    All true, but it still surprises me that people are that selfish, lazy and thoughtless that they’ll flytip.

    But there’s money in it. Student flat clearances are the thing round here, so there will be a spate of it in the next few weeks as landlords prepare for the new term. Landlord pays Dodgy Dave’s House clearance co to empty the house. 2 hours later its in a hedge somewhere.

    Its not even just about lack of vigilance from the purchasers of such services – its easy enough to get a license for waste disposal – even if you’re a dead goldfish, after that its all gravy.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/dec/24/dead-goldfish-licensed-waste-disposer-system-falling-apart

    The growers I have a certain (very) limited sympathy with, as they can’t dispose of their waste legally without getting done for it. Legalisation of that is a whole different conversation though.

    Edward Schroeder
    Full Member

    Having moved out of London to something a bit more countryside related in the last 6 months, I’ve been amazed by the amount of fly tipped stuff I see on my rides. I have a recycling centre and re-use shop near me that are easier to get to than half way up the lanes I see perfectly good furniture chucked out of a van (single items as well, I’m not talking house clearances here), so I just don’t get the logic sometimes.

    argee
    Full Member

    It’s getting expensive for commercial companies to dispose, so they do whatever they can, even the licensed ones. Where i live we’ve still got some ability to dispose of hardcore stuff for free, but limited quantity, same with most other stuff, it does seem like a long time ago you had council tips with skips for everything and folk there to assist you in binning your items.

    Funnily enough we’ve just got the back garden flattened at the back, and the previous owners must have thought it was a landfill, as they have buried all their rubbish before putting the topsoil back on, honestly, we’ve found drainage rods, workboots, gas cannisters, paint tins, batteries, a ton of knackered planks, a carpet and i’ve only made it a foot down!

    duncancallum
    Full Member

    It’s not a surprise. Some councils only let you do so many tips a year.

    Ours is prebook and timed, so you just can’t turn up.

    I think they should also let small businesses tip there so buy a yearly permit of say 250 quid and you can use the facility.

    It’s also an easy way to show how green they are… we’ve reduced landfill on this site by 28% aye cos it’s all on a farmers field

    Blackflag
    Free Member

    The main issue is the difficulty of disposal for small trades and those with larger items or DIY debris . But you would have thought that its cheaper for the council to accept more waste at the recycling plant than it is to drive out and collect it from the hedgerows.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    +1 for Towser …

    Our council outsourced and simply lie constantly about it.

    They constantly say the recycling centres are open to everyone for free which is a lie because you MUST use a car.. no vans, no wheel barrows on foot etc. etc. (obviously a mattress is not going in a wheel barrow but lots of stuff would) so obviously not open to everyone.

    Vans have to pay for a special license but then the list of excluded items is HUGE (and nothing you’d expect) without a full commercial license and the commercial licenses are sold by the outsourced company to prevent it being economic for competition.
    Obviously loads of stuff won’t even go in a small car …

    (WE had no garden waste collection for about a year… theoretically the company should have been charged £75 for EVERY BIN not collected every 2 weeks – so tens-hundreds of millions but when a few of us tried to get a commercial company to do it no-one could get one as they couldn’t use the local outsourced company controlled recycling centres)

    The outsourced company is also responsible for clearing all fly tipping in the borough…

    timba
    Free Member

    I think they should also let small businesses tip there so buy a yearly permit of say 250 quid and you can use the facility

    But you would have thought that its cheaper for the council to accept more waste at the recycling plant than it is to drive out and collect it from the hedgerows.

    TL:DR it’s a good idea but a massive drop in revenue for councils without the guarantee that the lazy/couldn’t care will stop fly-tipping
    Depending on the business IIRC there’s a loophole to use domestic recycling bins.
    Some councils will take commercial waste that has a value, FOC, e.g. scrap metal, clothing, and plastics provided you produce your licence
    The problem is the waste that isn’t normally collected for recycling, and doesn’t have a decent value e.g. builders’ waste, wood, etc, which tends to be what’s fly-tipped around here. ATM councils will charge c£140 for one commercial van full of wood and £3 per bag for builders’ waste
    It’s currently simpler for businesses to charge you for a skip then they don’t need to get involved in licensing at all

    reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    It is getting worse round me, to the point that some of the favoured spots are full and haven’t been cleared for a while now. We’ve got a return to the communal bin area being filled with random crap straight after the bins ahev been collected but not put back in, usually a job lot of mattresses but last week was an added few gas canisters for good measure. Everyone seemingly blames it on the local ‘travellers’ but it’s much more down to residents using cheap waste clearance vans and not giving a toss where it’s taken to. The council do occasionally go looking for address in the rubbish though and a few households have been traced and fined, not knowing that you’re still responsible for where your rubbish ends up even after it is taken away by a van.

    DEFRA have also told them that it’s time to stop appointments introduced during the height of C19

    I rather like the allotted timeslot system we use here in Cardiff, gives you a 30 minute window to arrive in and means the place isn’t rammed when you get in there. Massive skips doubled up for each type of rubbish that are well signed and swapped over constantly so there’s always room, they even take tyres. The staff are always helpful with giving a hand plus there’s a reselling store on site so they’re always on the lookout of stuff to go in there too. We’re allowed 24 visits a year plus 12 with a trailer in top if required.

    Well, that’s if you go to the Lamby Way site. If you want to use one of the trailer slots you have to go to the smaller site on Bessemer Road, the contrast between the two is stark. No help from the staff, always quizzed on what you’re bringing in only to be told they don’t take it (no car parts allowed, no rotting shed or fence panels, etc) and just generally made to feel like you’re causing them an inconvenience. It’s no wonder there’s a lot more fly tipping over the West side of Cardiff then the East.

    Steve
    Full Member

    Luckily my local tip is OK (Derbyshire), you don’t have to book and if you walk around looking gormless you can sometimes sneak 4 bags of rubble in the building waste skip. 🙂

    Likewise.

    I have no idea why other authorities have made it so difficult.

    neil the wheel
    Full Member

    Last time I saw fly tipping and litter at the levels we have here, it was around Naples about 10 years ago, when the Mafia was in charge of refuse collecting and tipping.
    I can’t understand it; it’s not like the UK is being run by the mafia…

    chestercopperpot
    Free Member

    Certain vehicle types have to apply for a license round here (didn’t have to before), as I found out earlier this year when the bouncers refused entry to the Ritz.

    Yet another problem exacerbated by public private sector agent arrangements that allow private sector businesses to dictate terms of a public service, while the LA/Government goes it’s not my problem mate!

    Again we get a worse/more onerous/more expensive level of service, that no one voted/asked for in the first place.

    flicker
    Free Member

    Thankfully our local council (Cheshire West and Chester) seem to have enough brain cells to rub together. Big modern tip facilities all separated into different types of waste, all free, open 7 days a week, turn up when you want as many times as you want. I think the only thing they don’t take are tyres, so I just go and have a chat with the local tyre fitters.

    jeffl
    Full Member

    Derbyshire here and for all their faults council tips take pretty much anything and no need to pre-book. Also allow vans and trailers in, even if they’re sign written. Only caveat being nontrade waste, so sign written gardeners van cannot take in garden waste. Similarly a sign written builders van cannot take in building waste.

    But we still have loads of fly tipping, so whilst I appreciate that councils needs to make it easier, clearly there are still a load of tossers out there who will happily fly-tip stuff that the council will take.

    jamiemcf
    Full Member

    When I was in my early teens (90s) I was tasked by my mum to get rid of the sofa. We spent hours riding it down the hill to the tip, pushing back up and riding down again. When the castors gave up we dragged it into the tip and the guys helped us in.

    Same tip now no longer accept foot traffic or building rubble.

    They’re still good and help unload the car though.

    And they check ID as folk from the tweed valley end of the borders swing by as they can’t be arsed going to their local tip.

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    As a domestic user I find the local tips in middle Derbyshire to be good and helpful.
    But the tip in Derby itself actively encourages fly tipping – as per another post, they still have the dumb-ass online PITA booking to go. Talk about making it difficult.
    Oh and throw in the even more dumb ‘odd number cars on an odd number date, even on even’ stupidity. Which total fhookwhit came up with that ? Halves the number of cars… but also half the days they can go. So the number of cars per day are still the same ! (Well except for those who say ballyx to it and fly tip).
    And of course those with 2 cars in the household can bypass that anyway by taking 2 cars full on one day instead if both odd or both even, or each day anyway if one of each.

    halifaxpete
    Full Member

    Loads of tips round my end and easy enough the access too. Still loads of fly tipping goes on though, Trouble is some folk are lazy/couldnt GAF/use dodgy FB man-with-van jobbies. You can get a limited use van permit FOC from my local council (or at least you could?) Mine expired so I have to cram the wifes car with crap these days or use the works skip. Forever getting rid of boxes!

    Sandwich
    Full Member

    That is how local councils work. Spend time and effort making things as awkward as possible, frequently using outdated methods.

    They have had their budgets cut too many reports of fly-tipping will lead to someone losing their bonus!

    Also fly-tipping comes out of another budget not mine! No you festering fcukwit it’s local council taxpayers money and it comes out of the same much bigger pot at greater expense.

    drinfinity
    Free Member

    Bolton tip is free to use for domestic. It has number plate recognition which claims to limit to 52 trips/year. Tidy, organised, and segregated for pretty much every waste stream.

    We still get fly tipping though, and there are occasionally prosecutions if they get an address.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Unfortunately our local council refuses to take reports from fixmystreet & they make reporting things difficult on their website by insisting you sign up, log in & leave details etc.
    They used to have a one click option of report anonymously or leave an email address for an update, but now its like they’re making it as awkward as possible.

    We used to have an app for reporting stuff, that got stopped after presumably too many folk reported stuff.

    bjhedley
    Full Member

    Predictable. To go to the tip/recycling center near me you need:

    Photo ID proving you live within an undeclared radius of the site.
    A car – people on foot were turned away
    Not a big car though else you need an appointment.
    Definitely not a van else you’ll need to fill in umpteen forms proving you’re not trade – this includes Caravelles/campers.
    The ‘right’ sort of waste – cardboard/grass cuttings and wood fine. Fridges, large appliances, mattresses, paint, tyres – basically all the stuff you see fly-tipped, you’ll need an appointment per item, probably for the 30th Feb.

    I can’t help but think, if they just did away with the above nonsense, brought in during covid, then suddenly it would reduce the amount of stuff tipped significantly. If you don’t own a car, or only own a van, is effectively impossible to use your local facilities. Sure some tw@ts would abuse if for trade waste, but surely it’s still being disposed of correctly and cheaper than dealing with flytipping.

    Rio
    Full Member

    They were told by HMG not to charge for DIY construction waste

    Didn’t realise this; round here (Bucks) there was a definite increase of fly-tipping of DIY waste when they introduced charges. Small quantities of tiles, bricks, rubble, that sort of thing. To be fair they’re pretty good at clearing it up when I report things on FixMyStreet, but I can’t help thinking it’s cost them money to employ the bored chap at the entrance to the tip plus the teams going round the countryside picking things up from laybys. It’s also illogical – tiles and rubble will go into the vast disused clay pits that form most of the landfill round here which is not really environmentally damaging in the grand scheme of things. Similarly for wood – that goes into the EfW plant which they’re desperate to keep at capacity so why is that charged for? I think the answer is “because they can”. On the other hand furniture is free to dispose of even if its partly dismantled. I recently broke up a sofa to get it into the car to take down the recycling centre. Had to be careful not to completely break it up though, as then some of it would be wood and I’d get charged.

    superfli
    Free Member

    “99% recycled – we’ve met our quota!”
    You see these signs at our local tip which sounds to have same tight restrictions as a lot of others. No wonder they’ve met their quota if all they accept is easily recycled waste FFS!

    Fursty Ferret
    Full Member

    To be honest, I look at the money cost of fly-tipping and the physical headache of fixing the problem, and think that it would be easier to divert that money to just allowing anyone to dump anything at a council tip.

    Enforcement doesn’t work because the council and police aren’t interested, and while it’s not my favoured solution it is one that would work.

    bigdean
    Full Member

    Timley..
    Been helping mum sort her garden out so many tip runs this week. Fortunatly i have a recycle centre a few 100m down the road.
    The’re great if you organise the stuff befor taking, its painless. The downside is general public are also on site so you get people parking evrywhere, blocking you in, sneaking into a space your just about to reverse into (normal “people are d@#ks” mentality nowdays).
    Trouble is they dont take everything so she has some old paint, great that goes to on recycle centre 13 miles one way (near enough linclonshire) but she also has some old tyres so thats a different recycle centre 13 miles the other way (in Derbyshire).
    I can see lazy/ DGAF types just not bothering and dumping it.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Can you not take the tyres to a garage and pay to put them on their pile?

    mildred
    Full Member

    I know this has already been said but yes some people are lazy, scruffy, selfish, horror show of scum buckets… However, councils know this and must surely realise that if they make access to local dumpit sites and recycle centres mildly difficult or awkward, or start charging folk, people will fly tip.

    Budgets are tight for councils but it must cost more in the long run by restricting access. I think if you were able to integrate the cost of the inevitable clean up followed by the cost of prosecution & then chasing fines that probably don’t get paid, free 24hr access would be cheaper. If the council were environmentally minded this would ensure absolutely everything got recycled properly.

    As mentioned, we can all claim 99% recycling if all we accept is stuff we know how to recycle. It’s lazy fucking box ticking by councils – they ought to provide a proper waste scheme that employs people who know about the environment, waste etc. who can advise and supervise staff to ensure it all gets handled properly. It’s since the council farmed it out to private waste companies who provide the contractual minimum service and nob all else.

    girolle
    Full Member

    Councils charge/restrict tip/refuse services because their funding has been halved in the last 12 years whilst their statutory duties have not changed at all. Councils choose (are forced to choose) funding statutory functions around social care at the expense of parks, librarys, effective tips etc. 90% of the comments above criticise councils for trying to recover some of the costs of refuse services, as opposed to tracing the blame back to government for systemic underfunding. Its an act of political genius by the current government, cutting local government funding in support of your own ideology around a small state, and getting another organisation to cop the blame in forums like this.

    Until we all start descibing the problem more accurately, we’re stuffed.

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