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  • Understanding the Impact of Fly Tipping in 2024


    As you travel the UK, the unfortunate sight of fly tipping — illegal dumping of waste like washing machines or overflowing bin-liners by roadsides — is increasingly common. This practice, intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic due to closed waste sites, remains a significant challenge for local councils, farmers, and landowners.

    How much of an issue is fly tipping in the UK today? Let’s take a closer look…

    What is Fly Tipping : Illegal Waste Disposal Explained

    Fly tipping is defined as “the illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a licence to accept it”. This includes liquid or solid household, industrial, commercial or ‘controlled’ waste. Littering differs from fly tipping and includes illegally disposing of materials that are related to eating, drinking and smoking.

    The most common types of waste that are fly tipped in the UK include:

    • Household waste
    • Appliances such as fridge freezers and washing machines
    • Building or demolition waste
    • Garden refuse
    • Vehicle parts or materials
    • Hazardous waste such as oil, chemicals and asbestos

    According to the 1990 Environmental Protection Act, local authorities and the Environment Agency are responsible for dealing with illegally disposed waste. Local authorities must clear fly tipped material from relevant land within their boundaries. 

    The Environmental Agency deals with large scale fly tipping incidents i.e. more than a lorry load of waste or those organised by criminal gangs. These incidents could potentially pose a threat to human health or the wider environment.

    Landowners are usually responsible for removing waste on private land, and these statistics are not generally reported by the UK government. Local authorities and the Environment Agency have legal powers to clear any waste from private land. They can then request reimbursement for any associated costs.

    Fly Tipping Facts & Figures

    England reports roughly 3,000 daily instances of fly tipping, summing up to a significant environmental and economic concern. Notably prevalent in urban areas like London, this illegal dumping results in considerable clean-up costs and environmental degradation.

    The overall number of fly tipping incidents in England has increased by 13% from 2018-2023. The government’s most recent fly tipping report found that over 1 million incidents were reported between 2022-2023. 60% of these reports involved household waste, with 40% of instances occurring on highways. Most incidents of illegal dumping were equivalent to a ‘small van load’ (31%), closely followed by the equivalent of a ‘car boot or less’ (27%).

    How Much Does Fly Tipping Cost the UK Economy?

    Fly tipping comes at a detrimental cost to the UK economy. £13.2 million was spent on clearing illegal waste in England between 2022-2023. This was a huge increase of 23% from the previous year’s £10.7 million. Prosecution actions for fly tippers cost the UK economy £846,500 in 2022-2023.

    These figures only take significant fly tipping incidents into account and don’t include smaller scale cases of illegal dumping. Therefore, we can assume the actual number to be much higher.

    Join McCarthy Marland in Combatting Fly Tipping

    The team at McCarthy Marland are dedicated to keeping our streets litter-free. Our Director, Alex Marland, regularly goes litter picking with his family to keep our roads clean and tidy. 

    We offer a wide variety of waste management solutions that are designed to help protect our environment from potential fly tipping incidents. Whether you need a skip to remove waste following a renovation project or have hazardous materials to dispose of, our team can help. Get in touch with us today and keep our planet safe for future generations to enjoy.

    Understanding the Impact of Fly Tipping in 2024
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