Illegal fly-tipping is becoming a major problem throughout London. A recent report estimated that over £25 million is being spent on clearing up illegally dumped waste and pursuing those responsible. In fact London accounts for half of the 10 worst areas in the country, according to new figures.
However, some London boroughs are suffering more than others. Newham, for example, spent a staggering £3.5 million in 2014/2015 on cleaning up almost 200 tips every day. This is more than any other council in England, let alone London. In addition, Haringey weighs in with over £2 million in clearance costs and Croydon spent well over £1 million for the period 2014/15.
These figures illustrate the efforts local boroughs and councils are making to address a rapidly growing problem in London and England. Fly-tipping is undoubtedly on the rise all over the country. Big spenders Haringey reported 25,000 cases of fly-tipping while Brent experienced an 84% year-on-year rise between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
But the problem is not just restricted to London. In fact fly-tipping across England has increased by 20% since last year with nearly 900,000 incidents recorded compared to 852,000 the previous year. In an effort to address the growing problem local councils have taken a harder line with enforcement actions which has resulted in 1,216 prosecutions compared to 982 the previous year.
Unfortunately these figures don’t tell the full story. Despite millions of pounds being spent on pursuing the culprits and then imposing fines, only a paltry £138,000 was recovered from enforcements for the entire capital. So it’s clear, at least to most people, that new, stricter enforcement methods need to be introduced in order to prove a stronger deterrent.
However, Newham Council, as already mentioned, spends well over £3 million per year and claims that one reason for its absurdly high fly-tipping bills is because of state-of-the-art technology it uses. According to a spokesman, recently introduced ‘in-cab technology’ has allowed officials to report dumped waste far more easily. While this doesn’t exactly represent a radical technological step-forward, Newham Council has nevertheless issued around 2000 fixed penalty notices and prosecuted 318 people for fly-tipping offences.
The causes of fly-tipping remain unclear. Some contend that budget cuts are chiefly to blame and have a direct impact on the amount of funds councils are able to allocate to anti fly-tipping measures. For instance, some local boroughs refuse to collect bulky items, forcing people to look for other ways to get rid of unwanted items.
Other commentators even deny that fly-tipping is on the increase and put the reported increase of incidents down to improved methods of detection and enforcement. While this seems like wishful thinking, the 3.1% increase in enforcement actions across the UK does suggest that an increasing number of fly-tippers are being caught in the act. Although some encouragement can be taken from this figure, it’s clearly evident that more has to be done in order to prevent selfish, careless people from besmirching our streets and countryside.
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