A ‘tidal wave’ of fly-tipping has engulfed England after the environmental menace soared almost 20 per cent in a decade.
The number of reported rubbish dumping incidents across streets, parks and the countryside now stands at nearly 1million a year.
The fly-tipping blight has left cities, towns and villages coping with items like discarded fridges, mattresses and even hazardous waste.
The three men were caught red-handed as they emptied the debris and materials down a quiet country lane on the Ugbrooke estate by a neighbour who was putting her chickens away
The cost to struggling local authorities of cleaning up the mess over the past ten years has hit at least £250million.
Shockingly, fly-tipping involving asbestos and clinical waste is at a four-year high.
The Mail has long campaigned against the menace of litter and backs the annual Great British Spring Clean campaign.
The fly-tipping figures were uncovered by Labour, which said the number of incidents recorded since the Conservatives took office in 2010 stands at more than 9million.
In the first year of David Cameron’s Coalition Government in 2010-11, the total of reported incidents was 819,571. This soared to 975,631 by 2019-20 – up 19 per cent. Over the decade, the total number reached 9,040,687.
Separate figures show how much councils have had to pay for clean-ups. In 2012-13, £36.6million was spent, rising to £58million in 2016-17 – a total of £240.7million over the period.
Since that date figures have not been collected, but, assuming that clean-up costs stayed at £58million a year, the total over the decade has exceeded £400million.
Labour local government spokesman Kate Hollern said: ‘Under the Conservatives, 9million fly-tips have blighted our streets since they’ve been in power.’
She insisted that Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick ‘has broken the promise he made to “stand behind” councils and instead he is standing back while a tidal wave of fly-tips, including fridges, mattresses and hazardous waste, will be left to rot whilst offenders go unpunished.
‘The Conservatives have hollowed out council finances and weakened our country’s foundations. A vote for Labour [in elections] this May is a vote to rebuild the foundations of our economy and restore pride to our towns.’
Labour said councils are struggling to meet the rising costs after a decade of austerity and the effects of the pandemic. The party said there was a £13million funding gap in waste budgets and £37million in enforcement costs in the last financial year alone.
It warned this funding gap could leave councils without the resources to tackle fly-tipping for up to two years as they are forced to scale back on their services.
Labour said additional expenditure of £119million a year is required to enforce existing fly-tipping rules and issue penalties.
Last night a Tory spokesman said: ‘The fact is the last Labour Government did nothing to tackle the problems of fly-tipping and it is this Conservative Government that has increased enforcement powers and created new offences to help councils tackle the problem.
‘Labour’s research conveniently omits that the areas of the country with the highest incidents of fly-tipping are all Labour-run councils.’
This year’s Great British Spring Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy and supported by the Mail, starts on May 28 and runs until June 13.
Moment woman confronts three fly-tippers caught dumping building waste at Devon beauty spot and shames them into loading it back onto their lorry
- Three men were caught red-handed emptying debris down a quiet country lane
- Neighbour Ella ‘ran through them’ filming and taking pictures of the suspects
- She also grabbed the keys to their van, threatening to call the police on them
This is the moment a quick-thinking woman confronts three fly-tippers dumping building waste at a Devon beauty spot, before forcing them to load it back onto their lorry.
The men were caught red-handed as they emptied the debris and materials down a quiet country lane on the Ugbrooke estate by a neighbour who was putting her chickens away.
Ella, 29, who did not to give her surname, said she ‘ran through them’ filming and taking pictures and said they were so shocked they didn’t know what to do.
In the footage, Ella can be heard telling the group ‘you lads better be picking that up’ before taking the keys out of their truck and threatening to call the police.
She said: ‘I was just shutting my chickens away when I could hear a commotion and gravel being poured away. I thought no one on the estate would be working 7pm at night?
‘I ran round and saw them tipping everything out, so I got my phone out and ran up and started filming them and their faces.
‘There was all this rubbish everywhere – they must have unhitched the trailer to use the van to tip out all the rubbish. I then grabbed their car keys which seem like a sensible thing to do at the time.
‘It was a bit stupid – one girl and three guys.
‘We get so much rubbish dumped there because it’s quick access off the motorway. We get all sorts – random washing machines, all sorts of stuff.’
Ella said: ‘There was all this rubbish everywhere – they must have unhitched the trailer to use the van to tip out all the rubbish’
Ella called her boyfriend, who quickly arrived on the scene with some of his friends. The police were also called and arrived a short time later.
She spoke to the men who were leaving the items, who insisted they had tried to dump the waste at a local tip only to find it was closed.
They said they planned to return the following day and collect the rubbish again.
Despite being on her own, Ella said she was determined to capture the incident on camera as fly-tipping had become such a big problem in the area.
She added: ‘My grandad was a policeman so I think I must take after him. I wasn’t worried at the time – I was so mad I didn’t think.
‘When I look back, I was lucky as they were fiery and didn’t do anything to me.
‘They were completely shocked – I just ran through them and filmed them all and they didn’t know what to do.
‘They weren’t nasty – they were apologetic. They were picking it all up as soon as they saw me.’
Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘Police responded to reports of three men fly-tipping at a site near Chudleigh soon after 8pm, on Thursday 15 April. Three men have been reported for the incident’
Police told Ella it’s unlikely the men would face prosecution – despite being caught red-handed on camera.
‘The police told me its highly likely it won’t get to court,’ she added.
‘They were saying in the eyes of the law – a policeman has to see them actually doing the offence. They can just say they were just picking up the rubbish.
‘But you think I’ve basically caught them red handed it doesn’t make sense.
‘I said I’ve got it on film – it’s annoying because I can see its jot going to get far without getting the ball rolling myself.’
Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘Police responded to reports of three men fly-tipping at a site near Chudleigh soon after 8pm, on Thursday 15 April.
‘Three men have been reported for the incident.’