West Country councils say rise in fly-tipping is 'a worry'

Councils across the West Country are facing some of their biggest waste management challenges since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Many local authorities have seen a rise in the number of fly tipping incidents since household recycling centres were shut.

Others are seeing a reduction in the number of people able to collect our waste because they are in isolation.

Fly tipping outside existing communal bins in the Cotswolds. Credit: Cotswold District Council

Cotswold District Council says it has seen an increase in fly-tipping along with Cornwall Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

"We are seeing an increase in fly tipping. What there is a worry about, and we have seen some evidence of is the larger, material left in places, where someone is leaving a lorry load of stuff somewhere, and that's a concern as it's big, problematic and expensive to deal with. The whole waste industry is seeing a big increase in cardboard and particularly food. And we're seeing anywhere between 20-25% more food waste coming through the system, than we had originally planned for.

Cllr Andy Doherty, Cotswold District Council

This coincides with some councils having to reduce certain waste services, such as garden waste collections, as a result of many waste collection staff needing to self-isolate or to recover from illness.

At Cotswold District Council its waste collection crews are 20% down.


Cotswold District Council says its waste collection crews are 20% down because of COVID-19.

Fly tipping at Ston Easton Credit: ITV West Country

Councils have also closed recycling centres as part of social distancing measures to discourage non-essential travel.

Many people have left their rubbish outside the sites instead.

Credit: ITV West Country

We did see an increase in fly tipping at household recycling centres when they first closed. I believe that's now slowed down. Our message to people is we've got essential work to carry out looking after the residents of Cornwall please don't distract our resources by fly tipping please keep that waste at home until household waste and recycling centres and other means are available to you.

Cllr Julian German, Leader, Cornwall Council

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said: “This is a challenging situation but we are doing everything we can to maintain essential waste collections during the Coronavirus outbreak while protecting our staff and residents.

“We appreciate that with more people at home there will be an increase in household waste and recycling. We will not be able to collect additional bags of non-recyclable waste and we encourage people to re-use items where possible and to compost their green waste.

“Fly tipping blights communities and is illegal. We have a zero tolerance approach to fly tipping and we encourage anyone who has information relating to the illegal dumping of rubbish to report it to our Envirocrime team.