Grot Spot Britain: Is official policy encouraging fly-tipping?

Around 100 metres of rubbish has been dumped in this country lane near Stoke. Credit: ITV News

In the latest of my reports on the blight of illegal dumping across Britain, government and local council policy comes under scrutiny.

There are growing concerns that officials are inadvertently adding to the problem of fly-tipping through a range of policies and charges.

Hundreds of councils responded to ITV News' Freedom of Information requests.

The results show that many local authorities are increasing fees for disposing of waste.

Some householders think that is leading to more illegal dumping.

Our findings show that there have been a mix of new charges and increased fees in many council areas across Britain.

These impact on businesses and on households.

  • We found some local authorities introducing new charges for disposal of DIY waste

  • Our findings also show a rise in what many councils charge for disposal of bulky waste – we found increases up to 10%

  • On commercial waste from businesses, we found charges rising up to 15%

We went to a location near Chelmsford in Essex where we filmed gigantic mounds of fly-tipping.

Local farmers have reported over 100 recent incidents.

None of them think there can be any excuse for fly-tipping, but they say that all commercial waste is now effectively banned from household recycling centers run by Essex county council.

They believe that a rise in landfill tax is having the unintended consequence of increasing fly-tipping.

A message left by angry residents to fly-tippers in north Manchester. Credit: ITV News

Essex County Council was typical of the responses we have had from local authorities.

They told us they had decided to "clamp down on the illegal commercial use of Recycling Centres for Household Waste and that there is no evidence that improving enforcement has led to an increase in criminal behaviour as there are commercial outlets available in Essex for those wanting to dispose of business waste".

On behalf of local authorities the Local Government Association has sent this response to our findings:

“Councils already provide a range of bulky waste collection services, which are often free and picked-up from people’s doorsteps.

"There is therefore no excuse for fly-tipping which is criminal, anti-social behaviour that can affect everyone in streets and communities.

"While councils will do everything they can not to introduce recycling centre charges, they have experienced a 40% reduction to their core funding in the last Parliament and continue to experience funding pressures.

“Councils want to work with households so that they can dispose of reasonable household waste easily and cost-effectively.

"However, when items which are clearly inappropriate are taken to household recycling centres - for example excessive amounts of DIY waste such as rubble - they may charge for a limited range of materials to avoid abuse of facilities intended for use by households, and to offset the high cost of disposing of items that would otherwise fall to council tax payers.”

Yet councils across the country are facing questions from people who believe that some official policies are now adding to the problem of fly-tipping - not helping to solve it.

In response to our Grot Spot Britain series, you sent in photos of fly-tipping in your area.

Send your pictures in to our Facebook page.