'They're scumbags': huge rise in fly-tipping during Covid pandemic

Fly-tipping has been a problem for years but since the first lockdown in March, there has been a huge increase in people dumping their waste illegally.

More people have been at home, and doing up their houses or having a clear out, combined with the closure of tips by councils during some periods last year, mean more people might have taken waste disposal into their own hands. 

Stoke City Council recorded a 30% increase since the first lockdown came into force on the 23rd of March last year, with a total of almost 6,000 cases in that time. 

Other councils in the region, including Coventry and Malvern District, have also seen a big increase.

It’s a nationwide issue. Councils across the country say they have dealt with nearly one million cases up to March 2020.

Overall, the data for England shows there were 976,000 incidents of illegal waste dumping dealt with by local authorities in 2019/20, up 2% on the previous year.

Looking at the graph below, you can see where the East and West Midlands rank when it comes to fly-tipping. 

Credit: DEFRA

One man from Alum Rock Community Forum in Birmingham confronts any illegal tippers that he sees.

 Environment minister Rebecca Pow said,

“Fly-tipping is completely unacceptable and these cynical offenders need to know that councils are taking increasing action and that they face on-the-spot fines of £400 or up to five years in prison if convicted in court.”

She said the number of fixed-penalty notices issued had increased by a third since 2016 and prosecutions had doubled in the same period.

“We are committed to tackling waste crime even further, but there is more that we must all do,” she said.

“Everyone has a legal duty of care when handling waste, and all householders and businesses must ensure that they pass their waste to licensed carriers, as failure to do so could result in a £400 fine.”

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