UK government fly tipping statistics for April 2020 to March 2021 confirm what concerns us. Law enforcement is not producing the results we need at local level in greater London towns like Beckenham, and also Mitcham where Jeffrey Avery has his base.
The government report report trends developments by land type, waste type and size. It also provides details of enforcement and prosecution actions undertaken. But the statistics exclude the majority of private-land dumping, and large scale incidents dealt with by Environment Agency itself.
Summary of Government Fly Tipping Statistics
- Local authorities closed out on over 1.3 million fly tipping incidents. This was 16% greater than the previous year.
- Nearly two thirds of these involved dumped household waste, again 16% more than the previous report.
- But the commonest crime scenes were roads and pavements. These represented 43% of the case load.
- The average dumping was equivalent to a small-van load, followed by a car boot or less.
- However, 4% were ‘tipper lorry load’ size, again 16% more than the previous period.
- Law enforcement at council level was 4% less, with 465,000 actions initiated.
- The UK government fly tipping statistics record 57,600 fixed-penalty notices, and 1,313 court fines.
We do acknowledge the period coincided with the first year of the pandemic. However, from where we sit it seems some house clearance cowboys literally made hay while the sun shines. While those responsible for prosecutions apparently watched from the sidelines. We say so because:
- First, law enforcement actions fell by 4%.
- Plus fixed penalty notices decreased by 24%.
- Moreover, there were 51% fewer court fines.
Avery Associates Reviews Impact of Coronavirus
The UK government report on fly tipping reveals some local authorities were unable to maintain collections of dry recyclates, during the first national lockdown. These raw materials would normally have been taken to a waste recycling facility. Or to a material recovery plant for processing into newly formed material or product
Some councils also suspended garden and bulky waste collections. There was widespread closure of household waste recycling centres too. However, the latter later reopened on government advice, after introducing booking systems.
The report makes an interesting observation at this point. Did changes in household consumption, travel and leisure patterns contribute to increases in the number of reported fly-tipping incidents? DEFRA also thinks this is why enforcement fell away.
They cite staff shortages, furloughed staff, and staff redeployment at this point. Courts also closed at certain stages of the reporting period, they point out. In fact, several local authorities admitted this impacted on their number of prosecution actions undertaken. However, it was business as usual for dumped household waste.
Fly Tipping Per 1,000 People by Region, 2021 / 2021
From 2019/2020 onward data processing methods changed, for reasons not entirely clear in the UK government fly tipping statistics. Apparently, many local authorities changed the way they capture and report fly-tips, including dumped household waste. DEFRA comments further there’s no precise overall consensus of what these terms mean.
There are also large differences between incidences across English regions per the figure below. Sociologists could have a field day coming up with inventive reasons. However, Jeffrey Avery Associates reviews prefer to keep to the facts.
Fly Tipping By Land-Type, 2021 / 2021
Highways, pavements and roads have consistently been the most common land-type for fly-tipping incidents. Infringements on council land, footpaths and bridleways are less than half of that though, perhaps because there’s less chance of a quick getaway.
However, incidents on housing estates, car parks, recreation parks, and offices increased by 24% in the year under review. While those on footpaths and bridleways grew by 10%. But offences in back alleyways only accounted for 10% total, surprisingly.
Fly Tipping By Waste Type, 2021 / 2021
That just leaves one open question. What is the nation’s favourite thing to dump?
- Total household waste increased by 16% to 737,000 incidents in 2020/21.
- There were 61,000 infringements involving commercial waste during that period.
- But commercial waste in black bags accounted for 34,000 of these offences.
Other sources of waste included construction, demolition and excavation. Major culprits included tyres, vehicle parts, animal carcasses, chemical drums, oil,fuel, clinical, and asbestos. My we are a tidy nation, aren’t we?