Farming News - Coronavirus lockdown fly-tipping is covered by BBC Countryfile

Coronavirus lockdown fly-tipping is covered by BBC Countryfile

18 May 2020

An image of discarded waste

Fly-tipping was covered by BBC Countryfile last night as it investigated whether the coronavirus lockdown has affected the amount of waste being illegally dumped.

Tom Heap reported that fly-tipping has increased during the lockdown, with more than half of the local councils which Countryfile approached reporting an increase. Defra collects data on the number of fly-tipping incidents across the country annually, so currently cannot officially confirm whether fly-tipping has risen nationally in recent weeks.

Our most recent figures for England for 2018/19 showed that there was an eight per cent increase in incidents and an 11 per cent increase in fixed penalty notices, which reached 76,000. The total value of fines also increased by 29% to nearly £1.1 million.

Councils can issue on-the-spot fines for fly-tipping of up to £400, with more serious offences liable to unlimited fines and five years imprisonment. Local authorities can search and seize vehicles suspected of fly-tipping, and the government has also given them the power to issue fines of up to £400 to householders who pass their waste to unlicensed waste carriers which is then found fly-tipped.

As mentioned in the report, Household Waste and Recycling Centres are gradually re-opening after widespread closures, which will decrease the likelihood of fly-tipping. This follows the publication of Defra guidance earlier this month to help councils safely re-open their sites.

The programme also covered anecdotal reports of an increase in littered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves and face coverings. Although we cannot confirm if this has increased nationally, we are clear that littering is a criminal offence that blights our streets and countryside and which can incur on-the-spot fines of £150.