According to a survey commissioned by Keep Britain Tidy, one-in-three people stated that they thought that it was okay to fly tip — despite 53 per cent of local authorities admitting that the issue is a major problem.
With great pressure being put on local authorities to clean up dumped rubbish, the 53 per cent all agreed that the increase of waste charges and the closing of recycling centres were contributing to the problem.
Ipsos MORI, who surveyed 1,133 people in England, said that 47 per cent of people didn’t even know that they are held responsible if their waste is fly tipped by a third party.
Furthermore, 36 per cent of people thought that it is acceptable to get rid of unwanted furniture and mattresses in a way that is legally classed as fly tipping.
Allison Ogden-Newton, Keep Britain Tidy chief executive, said, “We know that local authorities are at their wits’ end trying to tackle the growing crisis of dumped rubbish and our surveys show that there is a real challenge here to educate the public that not only is it not OK to fly-tip, it is illegal and can result in a substantial fine for householders and a criminal record.”
It has been reported that there were more than 900,000 fly-tipping incidents in 2014/15, costing locals councils an excess of £50 million a year to deal with waste left by roadsides.
Currently, the maximum fine for fly tipping in the magistrates court is £50,000 or 12 months in prison.
Despite the hefty fine, 95 per cent of fines issued remain below £1,000.
Keep Britain Tidy has launched an action plan to deal with the issue, working with local authorities, and asks for a review of and report on the application of the Environmental Offences Sentencing Guidelines when it comes to fly-tipping fines.
In addition to this, the charity is calling on the Government to direct landfill tax revenue to local authorities to support free collections and recycling services.
Ogden-Newton added, “We believe that much can be done to support those agencies in the front-lines acting on fly-tipping. This is a growing problem but our action plan, if adopted by government and law enforcement agencies at all levels, will make a real difference.”