First year of pandemic saw 16% increase in reported incidents of fly-tipping in England

For the 2020/21 year, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20, according to updated figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The figures cover trends in the number of fly-tipping incidents, with a breakdown by land type, waste type and size during the first year of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (2020/21).

The figures also cover enforcement and prosecution actions undertaken for fly-tipping incidents, but exclude the majority of private-land incidents and large scale incidents dealt with by the Environment Agency.

They show England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20.

As in the previous year, just under two thirds (65%) of fly-tips involved household waste. Total incidents involving household waste were 737,000 in 2020/21, an increase of 16% from 635,000 incidents in 2019/20.

Total number of fly-tipping incidents in England, 2014/15 to 2020/21

The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), which accounted for over two fifths (43%) of total incidents in 2020/21, the same as in 2019/20. In 2020/21, the number of highway incidents was 485,000, which was an increase of 16% from 419,000 in 2019/20.

According to Defra, the most common size category for fly-tipping incidents in 2020/21 was equivalent to a ‘small van load’ (34% of total incidents), followed by the equivalent of a ‘car boot or less’ (26%).

In 2020/21, 39,000 or 4% of total incidents were of ‘tipper lorry load’ size or larger, which is an increase of 16% from 33,000 in 2019/20. For these large fly-tipping incidents, the cost of clearance to local authorities in England in 2020/21 was £11.6 million, compared with £10.9 million in 2019/20.

Local authorities carried out 456,000 enforcement actions in 2020/21, a decrease of 18,000 actions (4%) from 474,000 in 2019/20.

The number of fixed penalty notices issued was 57,600 in 2020/21, a decrease of 24% from 75,400 in 2019/20. This is the second most common action after investigations and accounted for 13% of all actions in 2020/21.

The number of court fines issued decreased by 51% from 2,672 to 1,313 in 2020/21, with the value of total fines decreasing to £440,000 (a decrease of 62% on the £1,170,000 total value of fines in 2019/20).

Defra notes in its reporting that due to a number of factors, differences can occur in how local authorities record incidents.

You can read the full figures and statistical caveats here.


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