03:15, May 11 186 0 theguardian.com

2019-05-11 03:15:05
Incidents of fly-tipping in England jump by almost 40% in six years

The illegal dumping of waste across England has increased by nearly 40% in six years.

Local councils are struggling to tackle escalating fly-tipping as their budgets are cut and courts fail to impose the toughest sentences available.

The Local Government Association said the number of incidents in England had increased by 39.6% since 2012, from 714,637 to 997,553 in 2017-18.

But no one has been sanctioned by the courts to the maximum penalty of a £50,000 fine or 12 months in prison since tougher guidelines were issued by the government in 2014, the LGA said.

Cllr Martin Tett, who chairs the LGA’s environment board, described the dumping of waste illegally on roadsides, verges and outside homes as “inexcusable environmental vandalism”.

He said: “Councils are doing everything they can to try and deter fly-tippers. However, prosecuting them often requires time-consuming and laborious investigations, with a high threshold of proof, at a time when councils face significant budget pressures.

“Consistent and hard-hitting prosecutions are needed to deter rogue operators and fly-tippers. Councils also need adequate funding to investigate incidents and ensure fly-tippers do not go unpunished.”

By 2020 the overall funding councils receive from central government would have been cut by 60% since 2010, and the LGA says these funding pressures mean council enforcement cannot keep up with spiralling number of fly-tipping cases. Councils took action on 494,034 incidents in 2017-18 – up by just under 70,000 in five years.

The LGA is calling for the government to review guidance to the courts to ensure the worst offenders face tougher sentences. With councils in England facing an overall funding gap of £8bn by 2025, the LGA said the next spending review needed to ensure councils had the funding needed to investigate and prosecute fly-tippers.

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