Newly-released figures from Defra show that fly tipping in West Oxfordshire surged last year as recycling centres shut during the pandemic.

Incidents rose sharply to 1,188 in 2020/2021 up from 682 in 2019-20.

Debris was most commonly dumped on roads, making up 708 incidents, followed by footpaths and bridleways.

Green waste, white goods, tyres, construction material and black bin bags full of household or commercial waste was also dumped in alleyways.

There were 40 incidents of fly tipping on council land and 27 on agricultural land.

Clearing up 39 tipper van loads of dumped rubbish cost West Oxfordshire District Council £6,400. There were 30 other significant/multi loads fly tipped that cost £6,000 to clear.

The number of enforcement actions carried out by the council was 436.

Nine fixed penalty notices were issued and 401 investigations launched. There were 15 warning letters and one formal caution issued.

Incidents of fly-tipping on public land have increased by 16 per cent across England in 2020/2021.

Councils dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents during this period, as recycling centres shut during the pandemic and enforcement staff in many areas were furloughed.

The Country Land and Business Association, which represents rural businesses in England and Wales, remarked that the figures probably told only half the story, as they covered only fly-tipping on public land.

It said the “vast majority” of fly-tipping occurs on private land, with one of its members facing a £100,000 bill to clear up just one incident.

CLA South East regional director Tim Bamford said: “These figures do not tell the full story of this disgraceful behaviour which blights our beautiful countryside.

“Local authorities tend not to get involved with clearing incidences of fly-tipped waste from private land, leaving the landowner to clean up and foot what is often an extortionate bill. The government figures do not reflect the true scale of the crime because increasing reports of fly-tipping on private rural land are not included.

“Fly-tipping continues to wreck the lives of many of us living and working in the countryside – and significant progress needs to be made to stop it. It’s not just the odd bin bag but large household items, from unwanted sofas to broken washing machines, building materials and even asbestos being dumped across our countryside.

“Although the maximum fine for anyone caught fly-tipping is £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment, if convicted in a Magistrates' Court, this is rarely enforced. Unless tougher or more realistic action is taken to combat this kind of rural crime, it will continue to wreak devastation across rural communities This is why it’s crucial that tougher punishments are imposed by the courts.”

The CLA introduced a 5-point action plan to tackle fly-tipping which called on local authorities, the Environment Agency and police forces to commit to stronger action.


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