19 October 2017 by Hera Lorandos

Tett calls for mattress take-back scheme

Councillor Martin Tett, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA) has called for more producer responsibility in the wake of a rise in fly tipping incidents in England.

Responding to the Government’s latest data on fly tipping, the LGA spokesperson said that manufacturers “need to provide more take-back services so people can hand in old furniture and mattresses when they buy new ones.”

In 2016/17, local authorities dealt with 1 million fly tipping incidents.

Since 2013/14, the number of fly tipping incidents have increased year on year, with local authorities dealing with 1 million fly tipping incidents in 2016/17, a 7% increase from the previous year.

Two thirds of fly tips involved household waste, rising from 628,000 incidents in 2015/16 to 676,000 in 2016/17.

The data also showed that other types of fly tipping, including construction, demolition and excavation, as well as white goods, green waste, tyres and vehicles, amounted to 26% of all fly tipping incidents.

Incidents of white goods have also been increasing each year since 2012/13. In 2016/17, there were 55,000 incidents compared to 49,000 in 2015/16.

The LGA spokesperson added: “Litter and fly-tipping is environmental vandalism – it’s unpleasant, unnecessary and unacceptable. Not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents, it is also a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.”

Cost of clearance

In 2016/17, it cost local authorities £57.7 million to clear incidents of fly tipping, a 16% increase from the previous year, where it was reported to be £49.8 million.

Local authorities carried out 474,000 enforcement actions in 2016/17, costing around £16 million, a decrease of 20,000 actions and £0.9 million in cost from 2015/16.

The number of fixed penalty notices issued increased by 56% to 56,000 in 2016/17. This is now the second most common enforcement action (after investigations), and accounted for 12% of all enforcement actions in 2016/17.

“Clearing up fly-tipping is costing councils more than £57 million a year – money that could be spent on other services, like caring for the elderly, protecting children or tackling homelessness. It is unacceptable that they have to spend vast amounts each year tackling this scourge,” said LGA’s Mr Tett.

The councillor continued: “The Government has responded to our call for councils to be able to apply Fixed Penalty Notices for small scale fly-tipping – and this is a big step in the right direction. When they take offenders to court, councils need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences.”

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton also commented on the cost of clearance, saying: “Enough is enough. It is time to give councils the resources they need to tackle this problem head-on, using some of the proceeds of the landfill tax.

“We also need the people of Britain to stop treating our country like one giant tip, to take responsibility for their unwanted stuff and make sure that, if they give their waste to someone else to dispose of, they are going to dispose of it legally.”

Related links

Fly tipping in England

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