Fly-Tipping Stats [Infographic]



Unfortunately, trying to dispose of bulky waste isn’t always the simplest or cheapest process, which is why some people end up resorting to dumping it illegally on land that’s not suitable or licensed to receive it, whether that be by the roadside, or on private land.

Fly tipping and other forms of littering cost local authorities up and down the country millions of pounds a year. In fact, between 2019 and 2020, councils across the nation spent £694 million on street cleaning alone, which isn’t far off the amount they spend on bin collections (£897 million).

It also has an extremely negative impact on the environment. Smaller forms of waste can soil habitats, destroying plant life and creating choking hazards for animals. The dumping of waste can also encourage pests such as rats into environments they wouldn’t normally inhabit.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the statistics surrounding fly tipping to build a clearer, more detailed picture of how it’s affecting our society today.


Total fly tipping incidents in England


The number of fly tipping incidents here in the UK rose steadily during the latter half of the decade, before dropping and rising again. In 2020, there were 976 incidents of fly tipping, which is a 2% increase from the previous year. It looks like recent legislation and anti-fly tipping initiatives could be having a positive impact on the number of annual cases, but we still have a long way to go.


Fly tipping incidents per 1000 people


As you can see, London is by far the worst offender for fly tipping, with there being almost twice as many cases per 1000 people as the next offender on the list. When you scale this up to London’s true population, this figure starts to become a great deal more worrying.

We’re pleased to say that our home city, Stoke-on-Trent, is sat in the lower half of the list (West Midlands), but we are still keen to drive that number down much further.


Fly tipping incidents in England by land type


Most of the time when waste is illegally dumped, it’s dumped on public land. This means it’s up to the local authorities to arrange for the removal of the waste. As you might expect, a large majority of fly tipping occurs by the roadside.

There are very few cases of fly tipping occurring on private land. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the land owner to clear it. However, there’s a good chance that they will be able to recover at least a portion of these costs in court, if not a great deal more.


Type of waste fly tipped


As you can see, an overwhelming majority of the waste dumped illegally seems to be domestic in origin, with around half of it being general household items such as furniture, carpets or small-scale DIY waste, and a fair chunk of it being domestic refuse bags.

It’s worth noting that some of the domestic waste accounted for could have been dumped by a commercial van; however, it’s unlikely that this would be the case for many of the incidents.


Breakdown of other categories of fly-tipped waste


The remaining categories of fly-tipped waste are a little more obscure. They include: vehicle parts, clinical waste, asbestos and forms of chemical waste. As you can see, much of the waste listed in these separate categories is considered hazardous. Hazardous waste is particularly dangerous as it can have a severe impact on the environment and those who come into contact with it.

Here at Brown Recycling, we deal with the safe disposal of hazardous waste on a regular basis, so if you need any help with this, you know who to call!


Size of fly tip


As you can see, in the majority of cases, the size of the fly tip is anywhere between a car boot load and a whole van load. Most people don’t bother fly tipping a single black refuse bag.

A van load might suggest that the person doing the fly tipping is an unlicensed “commercial” waste collector, who has taken money from someone for their waste only to dump it illegally elsewhere. You have to be extremely careful when paying someone to remove your waste, because if they turn out to be a fly tipper, it’s you that can be held responsible if the waste can be traced back to you.

Always choose a licensed, trusted waste carrier like Brown Recycling to remove your waste, and we will make sure that your waste is not only handled legally, but diverted away from landfill and handled in line with the waste hierarchy.


Fly tipping action taken and breakdown of penalties


Statistics suggest that the number of actions taken over the course of the previous decade hasn’t risen steadily, but rather fluctuated slowly. In fact, the number of investigations that were carried out last year was the lowest it’s been since 2014.

However, this could well be because many of the investigations surrounding fly tipping prove to be fruitless, and only a small minority result in a letter or penalty.

You’ll also see that most fixed penalty notices are given for littering in conjunction with fly tipping, but not fly tipping directly.


Prosecution outcomes 2019/20


You will be pleased to see that the prosecution rate for fly tipping here in the UK is extremely high at 99%. Out of all the cases last year, 2,671 were fined, 44 given community service and only 50 cases were lost (where the tipper got away). The cost of prosecuting in 2019/20 was £1.2M.



As a leading waste management company based in Stoke-on-Trent, we’re always trying to do what we can to combat fly tipping and the buildup of waste in our local area. If you have any waste that you need removing, but you’re not sure how to go about it, give the team here at Brown a call and we’ll get it sorted for you.


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