Fly-tipping surge due to 'dark winter evenings'
- Credit: Cameron Wells Communications
Fly-tipping is surging as environmental criminals act under the cover of darkness to dispose of post-Christmas waste.
A staggering 79,726 fly-tipping incidents were recorded across the East of England in 2020/21 according to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) - 4,755 of which were in Norwich alone.
This is up from 61,423 across the region in the previous year, although Norwich did see a slight decline from 4,937 in 2019/20.
“Fly-tipping is an unwelcome blight on our countryside and can represent far more than an inconvenience to victims of the crime,” said Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn of Lycetts insurance brokers, who carried out research into the problem.
“Although local authorities will usually pay the clean-up costs of clearing waste from public land, the responsibility for removing waste from private land falls squarely at the feet of the landowners. If they fail to do so, they can face prosecution.”
Clean-up bills per incident average around £1,000, according to the National Rural Crime Network, but large-scale incidents can cost upwards of £10,000.
He added: “For those at risk of being targeted during these dark winter evenings, extra vigilance and a review of security measures is prudent."
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Adding that fly-tipping is not just a rural problem, Green Party city councillor Jamie Osborn said: "Fly-tipping is clearly a problem in Norwich and it's one of the things that residents routinely raise as a major issue that's affecting them. We've been looking at ways to stop it.
"We're looking into things like reducing the charge on bulky waste collections. People may not be able to afford to take things to the dump have a way of disposing of their waste in a way that they don't have to dump it or leave it by a communal bin in the city centre."
The party has called for waste amnesties, where waste can be left on the kerbside on a regular basis to be collected by the local authority - something already adopted in countries like Germany and Australia.
The city council agreed to trial the motion in Norwich two years ago.