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‘Fly-tipping farm-aggedon’ continuing to blight rural communities

Published: 24 February 2021

‘Fly-tipping farm-aggedon’ continuing to blight rural communities

Rural communities are increasingly being targeted by a “fly-tipping farm-aggedon”, with more rubbish being dumped in agricultural areas, new figures reveal today, prompting councils to call for tougher penalties to punish offenders.

The number of fly-tipping incidents on agricultural spots has increased by 80 per cent – from 888 in 2012/13 to 1,600 in 2019/20, while total fly-tipping incidents in districts rose from 173,000 to 209,000 for the same period, according to government statistics published today.

These figures however don’t reflect the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, which councils fear has driven an even sharper increase in fly-tipping.

While the majority of fly-tips seen by district councils takes place on public highways, council land, footpaths and alleyways, the District Councils’ Network (DCN) is warning that farm-land has become a growing target for fly-tippers during nearly a year of restrictions.

It comes as the DCN, which represents 187 district councils in England responsible for clearing up fly-tipping and littering, also revealed in autumn that 40 per cent of councils said the littering of face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was a growing problem in their local communities.

The DCN says this shows why it is vital districts get the funding they need as we emerge from the pandemic so communities don’t suffer from the scourge of fly-tipped rubbish.

It is also calling for sentencing guidelines to be reviewed so offenders are punished with heavier fines for the more serious fly-tips. This would serve as a deterrent to would-be fly-tippers.

Cllr Dan Humphreys, the DCN’s Lead Member for Enhancing Quality of Life said:

“There is no excuse for dumping rubbish. Fly-tipping is the scourge of communities, an eyesore which damages the environment and ruins local areas. Residents should not have to put up with it.

“District councils have been doing what they can during the pandemic to clear up fly-tipping and keep our communities clean, but this action has been limited somewhat as a result of efforts to tackle coronavirus.

“We are seeing this becoming more and more of an issue in the countryside, with rural communities experiencing what is tantamount to a fly-tipping farm-aggedon.

“As we come out of the pandemic, government needs to make sure districts have the funding certainty to be able to wage war on fly-tippers on a scale which will ensure communities have a safe and clean environment they are proud to call home. At the same time we would like to see sentencing guidelines reviewed so courts get tougher on fly-tippers for the more serious offences.”


The District Councils’ Network (DCN) is a cross-party member led network providing a single voice to 187 district councils. District councils in England deliver 86 out of 137 essential local government services to over 22 million people – 40 per cent of the population – and cover 68 per cent of the country by area. They play a key role in local communities, providing services such as building homes, collecting waste, regenerating town centres, preventing homelessness, keeping streets clean and maintaining parks.

Date: 24th February 2021

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