£400m fly-tipping epidemic: Councils forced to collect more rubbish

New blitz on £400m fly-tipping epidemic will see councils forced to collect more rubbish… and you won’t have to pay them to get rid of DIY waste

  • All councils will be forced to collect more waste to reduce illegal dumping 
  • Households will no longer have to pay councils to get rid of their DIY waste 
  • Officials said the new changes could save households up to £10 per item 

A new attempt to solve Britain’s £400 million-a-year fly-tipping epidemic will be launched this week, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

All councils will be forced to collect more waste to reduce the likelihood of people illegally dumping it, or resorting to ‘rogue operators’ who then fly-tip.

And under the plans, households will no longer have to pay councils to get rid of their DIY waste.

It means home improvement enthusiasts will be able to dispose of materials including plasterboards, bricks and bath units free of charge. 

About a third of local authorities charge for certain types of DIY waste, by using rules designed for construction waste. Ministers will set out changes to the rules that allow this. Officials said the changes could save households up to £10 per item.

The number of fly-tipping incidents have gone up sharply since the start of the pandemic – and cost the country up to £392 million a year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

All councils will be forced to collect more waste to reduce the likelihood of people illegally dumping it, or resorting to ‘rogue operators’ who then fly-tip. Pictured: Waste, illegally fly-tipped in a stream next to a stretch of road running through countryside in Erith 

Pictured: Extreme amount of household and garden waste illegally dumped in open countryside in Yorkshire last month 

The number of fly-tipping incidents have gone up sharply since the start of the pandemic – and cost the country up to £392 million a year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said. Pictured: The aftermath of fly-tipping in Erith, Kent

Last year there were 1.1 million cases in England. More than 60,000 incidents with construction, demolition and excavation material were recorded in 2020/21, up 18 per cent from the previous year. 

Single items such as furniture and mattresses accounted for 16 per cent of fly-tipped items last year.

Councils will also receive new funding to help them in the battle. New money will be set aside to increase surveillance of culprits, using CCTV cameras – some hidden, some out in the open – which will be set up at known hot spots. 

Artificial intelligence equipment will also be used to identify the number plates of cars used by offenders. Environment Minister Jo Churchill said: ‘Enough is enough. These appalling incidents cost us £392 million a year.

Pictured: A pile of waste left by fly-tippers on Sandon Road, in Cresswell

Last year there were 1.1 million cases in England. More than 60,000 incidents with construction, demolition and excavation material were recorded in 2020/21, up 18 per cent from the previous year. Pictured: The aftermath of fly-tipping in Erith, Kent

‘I want to make sure that recycling and the correct disposal of rubbish is free, accessible and easy for householders. No one should be tempted to fly-tip or turn to waste criminals and rogue operators.’

But last night Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, cautioned that the crackdown might not be enough.

‘These proposals are a start but to make a real difference to the thousands of fly-tipping incidents that are blighting communities across the country every day, cash-strapped local authorities need financial support for their efforts to help residents do the right thing, and to prosecute the environmental vandals that fly-tip,’ she said. 

‘That is why we continue to call for councils to be able to use the proceeds of Landfill Tax to invest in better waste services for their communities.’

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