Tipping Point: Exposing the realities of Britain’s fly tipping enforcement gap

fly tipping waste crime

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Report Introduction

In recent years, there has been a welcome political acknowledgement that plans to address our country’s deep regional divides must be grounded in the restoration of people’s sense of pride in their local place and community.

This has led to an intensified political focus on the regeneration of cities, towns and local green spaces – most noticeably through former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s flagship “levelling up” policy, although the programme is likely to take a different shape under Prime Minister Liz Truss.

But despite much rhetoric around local revival and regeneration, fly tipping continues to blight our streets and countryside, with the north of England experiencing much higher levels of fly tipping than the south (relative to population size).

Across the country, the problem is getting worse, with particularly big spikes in fly tipping incidents in our waterways and on footpaths and bridleways. Fly tipping now costs the UK hundreds of millions of pounds each year, while damaging the social fabric of our communities, impacting wildlife, contributing to poor mental health and chipping away at our collective civic pride.

Conversely, we can see from examples across the country that efforts to tackle fly tipping can build community cohesion, reduce fly tipping and save councils money.ii The decline of local level enforcement when it comes to fly tipping is just one example of a wider, more systematic problem – the erosion of UK enforcement capacity and activity across many areas of public protection.

This, we feel, is contributing to the UK’s “protection deficit”, where the rules that safeguard the things we care about are being undermined. In this briefing, we outline new research which reveals the extent of the country’s fly tipping problem, and set out what British voters think about the issue.

About Unchecked UK

Unchecked UK makes the case for common-sense protections which help keep people safe and allow businesses to thrive. We are a rapidly growing network of leading and diverse civil society organisations who believe that sensible, properly-enforced protections are the framework for a decent society – where the food we eat and the things we buy can be trusted, where the natural environment is protected, our homes and workplaces are safe, and our rights are safeguarded.

We carry out research and investigations to highlight the loss of protection for the UK public that results from the erosion of important regulations and of the public bodies which enforce them. We carry out public insights research to help shape new positive narratives about our shared protections, and work alongside our civil society partners to demonstrate the public consensus for strong rules and high standards.

Ultimately, Unchecked UK aims to shift the political and public debate round regulation, and to build momentum for proper investment in strong rules and the public bodies which defend them. We are a non-partisan organisation, incubated as a project of The Ecology Trust.

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