The Problem Of Fly-Tipping

There are few things quite so unsightly as fly-tipping.

Not only is it a physical eyesore, it can also prove costly for the nation — in 2018/19, it cost local authorities £12.9 million to clear away large fly-tipping incidents, which account for only 3 per cent of total incidents!

According to statistics, fly-tipping has increased by 8 per cent since 2017/18, and it has increased 50 per cent since 2012/13. Alongside this huge increase in the last decade, 62 per cent 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.

While reductions in bin collection services across the country may well have left homes with a sudden crisis of waste handling, are we really all loading our cars with black bags to throw out onto the roads at night? Or is there a different culprit for us to be aware of?

Deterrents: are they working?

Currently, the maximum fine for fly-tipping is £50,000, on top of a potential 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 per cent of fines were under £500.

It is interesting to note that, despite the increase in fly-tipping offences, the number of prosecutions has not increased exponentially. 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 per cent, from 2,170 to 2,397. The number of successful prosecutions has actually dropped since 2012/13 too, from 98.8 per cent to 96.2 per cent.

Perhaps a stronger response from law enforcement is necessary, though of course, finding the culprit of fly-tipping is difficult by its very nature. 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.

Again, it seems unlikely that we’re all packing up our rubbish into our cars for clandestine evening trips to a roadside to chuck our black bags out onto. But are we always aware of where our rubbish is going?

Are we fly-tipping without realising?

The phrase “if it sounds too good to be true” applies to a great many things. 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 you can help clean up Britain

We all want 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 waste 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.

Richard Walker, from waste disposal experts Skip Hire, advises people to be aware of who is responsible for 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 make 2020 the year we throw fly-tipping in the bin! It’s easy enough — pick legitimate, registered waste carriers to help you clear away your household rubbish