Latest Public Sector News


Fly-tipping levels and costs at a record high

Local authorities are urging retailers to provide ‘take back’ services after spending millions of pounds annually clearing up bulky waste and enforcing against record fly-tipping levels.

Latest figures show that councils had to fork out £20m in half a million enforcement actions against fly-tipping in 2013-14 and spent almost £50m in clear-up costs – a 24% increase from the previous year.

They had to deal with 850,000 fly-tipping incidents, also representing an increase of 20% – likely as a result of people changing homes more frequently and lower prices of household consumer goods. Nearly two-thirds of fly-tipping incidents involved household waste.

Councils are now demanding that manufacturers voluntarily provide services where people can return their old mattresses and furniture when they buy new ones, as well as asking them to contribute to clear-up costs.

Mattresses are particularly problematic as they are “extremely” difficult and expensive to recycle and mostly end up in landfill sites that are “already under severe pressure”.

LGA environment spokesperson, Cllr Pete Box, said: “Mattresses and furniture are some of the most fly-tipped items and in these unprecedented circumstances it is only fair that the manufacturers do more to help.

“Manufacturers should show leadership on this issue and provide more ‘bring back’ services and contribute towards the cost of councils’ clear-ups, on a voluntary basis.”

Cllr Box also blamed fly-tipping for “scarring and disfiguring” the country’s villages and countryside, claiming they are under threat from a “fresh tide of tipping”.

He added: “Fly-tipping is at a record level and increasingly the country’s loveliest beauty spots and villages are being scarred and disfigured.  This blight on our most beautiful countryside, towns and cities is costing councils a fortune when they have already seen significant budget reductions.”

Cases of note include mattresses, fridge-freezers, sofas, ironing boards and rotting household furniture like old TVs being dumped in locations across Hampshire and Gloucestershire, as well as in the ruins of Lilleshall Abbey and the historic Railway Village in Swindon.



A Parish Clerk   27/07/2015 at 13:15

This is not a surprise. Councils are making it more and more difficult and more and more expensive to dispose of waste responsibly - what do they expect?

Bobbyboy   27/07/2015 at 13:53

i agree with Parish Clerk we predicted the increase in flytipping once all the charges and licensies came into force. I think its time to step back a little and intorduce a bulk collection service on a monthly basis, if you place bulk items out for collection you will be charged per item at a reasonable cost not the £35 pound charge for the first one to four items. Also sterner penalties placed on HMO's as they seem to be the biggest offenders in street fly tipping on the basis if they leave it long enough the council will remove it. I know i have had to organise removals on numerus occassions. Also bring in a total ban on bins left on streets as the two seem to coincide with one another. If a house hold cannot for ligitimate reasons move there bins then they are returned to black/blue waste bags.

Another Clerk   27/07/2015 at 17:39

Tips are being closed, so where are people to go? And collections are too costly for many people. If companies pick up when they deliver they are penalised doubly when they put the items into recycling/landfill. Recycling centres do a fab job, we just need more of them. And if run well, they can actually make money.

Brianc   27/07/2015 at 23:33

This was obviously going to happen with Councils charging a King's ransom just to have things removed. People who do not have their own transport to take larger items to the appropriate recycling facilities are being discriminated against, especially in that these are the people least likely to be able to afford Council collection charges. I too have had to call the Council to ask them to remove items left outside flat blocks, where is would be almost impossible to identify the culprits. Perhaps if Councils were more lenient with charges for these uplifts, there would be an overall saving in time, effort, and unsightly messes being left to rot on the streets??

AW   28/07/2015 at 10:32

Here in Cornwall, the unitary authority has made the decision to introduce charges to all at waste sites on the grounds that the revenue generated exceeds the cost of responding to fly tipping incidents. Needless to say it is not an attitude which has been well received: however, every decision made is about money these days..................

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >