It seems that fly tipping is becoming more and more of a problem in London, with many blaming the councils for raising fees for access to dumps and for skip permits. It is likely to get worse too as money-saving initiatives such as reduced hours at municipal skips begin to have an impact.
Skip permit charges have increased in many areas and some councils have also raised the cost of disposing of bulky waste. The heavy regulation of waste disposal could also be a factor, with many choosing to dump their rubbish illegally rather than make the effort to comply. It seems there is a clear link between how much rubbish disposal costs and increases in fly tipping incidents.
Councils claim that they don’t have any choice other than increasing charges in order to make ends meet, and further cost cutting is expected. Of course the problem is that clearing up illegal fly-tipped waste also costs the council money.
The London Evening Standard ran a story last September claiming that fly tipping cost the city’s taxpayers more than £8 million the previous year, with 200,000 instances of illegal rubbish dumping across London costing around £4.3 million to clear up and £3.8 million spent on trying to punish offenders. There were apparently 6,201 successful fly-tipping prosecutions and 371 fines across London but only £309,717 was recouped from the offenders.
Another issue is that if fly-tipping occurs on privately owned land it is the landowner’s duty to clear it up, not the council’s. Your best bet in this situation is to get a company like London Junk to remove the waste for you, as it may not be safe to try and do it yourself.
Fly tipping is considered a serious criminal offense, with offenders facing fines of up to £50,000 or possible even a prison sentence of up to 5 years, however this doesn’t seem to be enough of a deterrent judging by the figures above.
The environment department has said it is trying to further crack down on fly-tippers by introducing the power to seize vehicles, and considering making offenders do the clearing up. Now that’s something we’d like to see!