The North East suffers more from fly-tipping than any other location outside London, new figures reveal.
According to Defra, incidents of fly-tipping on public land have increased by 16% across England in 2020/2021.
London heads the list with 43 fly-tipping incidents per 1,000 people, with the North East in second place, leading to regions with 31 incidents per 1,000 people – up from 24 in the previous year.
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Councils in England dealt with a total of 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents during 2020-21.
In the North East, 47 fines were issued and 23 vehicles seized.
But these figures only account for waste illegally dumped on public land which has been reported to the authorities.
Representing around 28,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) says that the vast majority of fly-tipping incidents occur on privately-owned land, painting an even more damaging picture.
CLA director North Lucinda Douglas said: “These figures do not tell the full story of this disgraceful behaviour which blights our beautiful countryside.
“Local authorities tend not to get involved with clearing incidences of fly-tipped waste from private land, leaving the landowner to clean up and foot what is often an extortionate bill.
“The Government figures do not reflect the true scale of the crime because increasing reports of fly-tipping on private rural land are not included, coupled with the country plunged into lockdown.
“Fly-tipping continues to wreck the lives of many living and working in the countryside – and significant progress needs to be made to stop it.”
“It’s not just the odd bin bag but large household items, from unwanted sofas to broken washing machines, building materials and even asbestos being dumped across our countryside.
“Although the maximum fine for anyone caught fly-tipping is £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment, if convicted in a magistrates’ court, this is rarely enforced.
“Unless tougher or more realistic action is taken to combat this kind of rural crime, it will continue to wreak devastation across rural communities. This is why it’s crucial that tougher punishments are imposed by the courts.”
The Defra data shows that highways and roads are the main public area tipping sites, accounting for 43% of incidents, followed by footpaths and bridleways, then council land and back lanes.
Household waste is the main category of rubbish tipped, which includes items like furniture, old carpets, DIY items and shed and house clearances.
Small van loads are the most common tipping incident by volume.
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