SkipHire UK looks to social media reporting to see what impact it may have on reported fly-tipping incidents in each region for England.
Fly-tipping is a growing problem across the UK, and the pandemic gripping 2020 has only served to worsen the issue. With recycling centres and tips shutting down and locked-in citizens making the most of their time indoors by ramping up the home clear outs, many encountered difficulties finding a place to drive their waste to.
The increase certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed, but what real difference could our vocal Brits make when reporting fly-tipping? After all, the government believes the increase in incidents across the country is down to better recording.
In order to answer this pressing question, we have gathered all social reporting tweets from 2019/2020 and, using sentiment analysis, counted those with negative sentiments. We then compared this year with data gathered from 2018/2019 to see what impact social reporting could have on reported fly-tipping incidents in every region. This data can then be compared to the number of incidents that were reported to authorities in 2018/2019 in order to estimate what the official figure will likely be across regions this year, as well as the value of fines that could increase.
|Negative Tweets Reporting Fly-Tipping||Fly-Tipping Incidents Reported to Authorities||Value of Fly-Tipping Fines|
|2018/19||2019/20||% Change||2018/19||2019/20 (Est.)||Difference||2018/19||2019/20 (Est.)||Difference|
|East of England||141||114||-19%||67,792||54,811||-12,981||£52,839||£42,721||-£10,118.11|
|Yorkshire & the Humber||120||115||-4%||97,649||93,580||-4,069||£72,301||£69,288||-£3,012.54|
Our data covers three main areas per region:
- Negative Tweets Reporting Fly-Tipping — We calculated the number of tweets posted per region between 2018/2019, and again in 2019/2020, regarding fly-tipping in a negative light. From this, we can see which region’s residents have been the most vocal in observing a rise in fly-tipping and those who are most likely to go on to report incidents.
- Fly-Tipping Incidents Reported to Authorities — Here, using official government statistics as a base, we calculated the number of fly-tipping incidents reported in each region during 2018/2019. We then used this data along with the increase or decrease in social reporting tweets to estimate the number of incidents being reported across England in 2019/2020.
- Value of Fly-Tipping Fines — Again, using official reports, we have gathered the total value of fines implemented for fly-tipping offenses in each region. It is important to note that not every incident will have been subject to a fine or taken to full prosecution.
Greater London makes small steps
Greater London had the highest number of negative tweets last year, but in 2019/2020, the region has seen a 12% decrease in fly tipping tweets with a negative sentiment. With fewer people voicing their concerns about fly-tipping, could the county finally be getting its rubbish problem under control?
With the county having the most fly-tipping incidents last year, it makes sense that people would be more alert and less tolerant of the problem. Last year, Greater London certainly had a fly-tipping crisis on its hands, with 324,261 incidents — news outlets reported that four of the top five worst places for fly-tipping in England were all in London.
The second highest number of fly-tipping incidents was in the North West with 112,069, meaning Greater London took the undesirable crown by a whopping 212,192 additional incidents.
But this year, we could be witnessing a step in the right direction. With fewer negative tweets, we can assume less fly-tipping is being spotted by residents. If this reflects in reported incidents, Greater London could see a decrease of nearly 40,000 fly-tipping cases this year — not enough to shed its unwanted title of “Most Fly-Tipped Region in England”, but a step in the right direction.
Could the county do more to lower dissuade people from dumping their waste, however? Despite the high number of incidents, Greater London’s average fine per incident is oddly low, showing how many incidents must go without financial reprimand. With 324,261 incidents last year, but only £155,895 in fines handed out, if the total fines collected were spread across every incident, each fly-tipper would only have to pay 48p for their crime. Given fly-tipping can come with a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months in prison, it’s clear that Greater London is either opting for the prison time, or simply not enforcing enough fines for the sheer number of incidents it is subject to.
Is the West Midlands’ no-nonsense approach faltering?
In contrast to Greater London, the West Midlands has been much more heavy-handed with its fines for fly-tipping criminals. Sitting in the middle of the estimated incidents table for 2019/2020, the West Midlands has the highest estimated value of fines this year despite not having the most fly-tipping incidents. This is based on that fact that the region had the highest total value of fines last year. This suggests the West Midlands is truly taking a no-nonsense approach to its fly-tippers. In fact, we’ve estimated that the West Midlands will charge £317,220.12 more in fines this year than Greater London, despite 71,212 fewer predicted incidents.
However, there has been a 36% rise in negative tweets regarding fly-tipping in the West Midlands this year, suggesting a fly-tipping problem could be heading the region’s way. Perhaps even the West Midlands’ fine-heavy approach is no match for the waste management problems caused by the lockdown, as the region is set to see 47,140 more fly-tipping incidents this year compared to last year if social reporting is anything to go by.
North East’s rubbish crisis hits the heart
Over in the North East, we can really see how fly-tipping could surge in just 12 months. The region has suffered during lockdown, but it hasn’t suffered in silence.
Compared to last year, there has been a 79% increase in the number of negative tweets about fly-tipping from disgruntled North Eastern residents. Sunderland Council in particular has stated they have received a flood of complaints from caring residents who aren’t willing to put up with rubbish being dumped in their city!
Last year, the North East was second from bottom in terms of the number of fly-tipping cases, with 63,646 instances. But, with lockdown difficulties this year and more eagle-eyed people willing to voice their displeasure with social report tweets, fly-tippers in the North East may be on the rise, but they’re far more likely to be spotted and reported!
South West incidents to remain low
The South West has remained low in terms of fly-tipping cases, with 59,334 cases last year and a projected 50,670 cases this year. Along with the East of England, the South West of England consistently lingers at the bottom of the ranking. No doubt the natural beauty of Somerset and Cornwall act as unique motivators for residents to keep their region tidy and without the eyesore of fly-tipping! In a similar way, fellow low-fly-tipper East England has Cambridge and the Broads to keep tidy and clean.
Last year, the region didn’t only have the lowest number of fly-tipping cases, but it had the lowest value of fines too. At just £20,116, the South West was leagues away from the likes of the West Midland’s iron fist of fly-tipping justice, coming in at £235,645. Perhaps financial reprimand isn’t always the most effective way to deter would-be fly-tippers!
It is great that the nation is waking up to the issue, and we urge everybody else to think about where your waste has the potential to end up if it isn’t handled by a registered waste carrier
“Fly-tipping is a serious problem across the nation that we at SkipHire UK want to eliminate. It is great that the nation is waking up to the issue, and we urge everybody else to think about where your waste has the potential to end up if it isn’t handled by a registered waste carrier” – Michael Taylor, General Manager at SkipHire UK
As tips and dumps temporarily closed across the UK, some have taken the opportunity to dump their waste irresponsibly, causing a negative impact on towns, villages, and cities. It is more important than ever to make sure your waste is being dealt with in a hygienic and responsible way, so be sure to contact a registered rubbish clearance service to help clear away any clear outs you’re planning over lockdown and beyond.
This article first appeared here on SkipHireUK.