Fly-tipping: The filthy business that costs councils millions

New fixed penalty fines for fly-tippers will come into force in the Spring. Credit: ITV News

The illegal dumping of waste - aka fly tipping - seems to be one of the most selfish of offences.

Yet despite the fact that complaints about it fill postbags and infuriates entire neighbourhoods - it remains a growing problem.

The cost has grown more than 10% in just a year and now stands at £50 million for England alone.

In tough financial times for local councils, that's money that could be used on services for the community instead of being absorbed clearing up after people that fail to clear up after themselves.

A large amount of what appears to be commercial waste in a layby. Credit: ITV News

I was given access to go out on patrol with the fly-tipping enforcers at Buckinghamshire council.

We saw awful scenes of illegal dumping on a massive scale. For me it was a depressing eye-opener.

There's no excuse for this sort of illegal dumping, but there are questions over whether things like increased charges at council tips are adding to the problem - along with bin collection restrictions.

Also there are concerns over whether the fines are large enough to discourage some culprits who fly tip on a commercial basis.

Reacting to today's figures, the government said increased use of technology is one of the keys to tackling this anti-social problem.

The public must challenge fly-tippers too, authorities say. Credit: ITV News

Councils are now encouraging the public to use apps and online platforms to report fly tipping - and then local authorities - like Durham council in the clip below - are using hidden cameras to catch the tippers.

There will also be a new fixed penalty ticket for small scale fly-tipping in spring next year which will make it possible for councils to punish dumpers without the time and expense of going to court.