Julia Mulligan, Chair of the National Rural Crime Network, said:
“Fly-tipping is a scourge on rural communities and is growing in both scale and severity.
“We also know from our research that fly-tipping is significantly underreported – by up to 75% – mostly because very little, if any, support is given to private land owners to deal with the problem.
“For too long fly-tipping has been at the bottom of the political agenda, with responsibility falling between too many agencies, and communities suffering repeatedly as a result. Having almost 60% of rural people seeing fly-tipping within the last year is totally unacceptable.
“Failures to act against fly-tipping misunderstand the impact on communities and rural businesses. Not only does it make people feel less safe and blight our communities, but the financial cost of dealing with the waste is significant. Most importantly though, it is generally thought larger scale fly-tipping stems from serious and organised criminals, and so failing to deal with those offenders adequately has knock-on consequences. I would also encourage local authorities to assess the charges they levy for trade waste, which many people feel has led to an increase in fly-tipping.
“I have been working with DEFRA as part of various working groups, encouraging them to take this issue more seriously, as well as with the Home Office to take rural crime more seriously. I would like to think both are taking steps in that regard, but it must be a priority for the next Parliament to address this issue, clean up our countryside and reduce the burden of fly-tipping once and for all.”