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LGA - Fly-tipping: Councils call for urgent action to save the nation's countryside
Furniture and mattress manufacturers must help contribute to the multi-million pound clear-up of fly-tipping, as councils warn the nation's beauty spots and loveliest villages are increasingly being "scarred and disfigured".
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents over 370 councils in England and Wales, wants more manufacturers and retailers of bulky items to voluntarily provide 'take back' services – where people can hand in their old mattresses and furniture when they buy new items. They are also urging firms to contribute to the clear-up costs – as councils have to fork out almost £50 million annually. Enforcement against fly-tipping costs local authorities nearly £20 million a year and councils also want to be able to recover all their prosecution costs after they take the tippers to court.
Latest figures show the mammoth scale of the problem, fuelled by people changing homes more frequently and low prices of household consumer goods. Councils dealt with 850,000 fly-tipping incidents in 2013/14 – up 20 per cent from the previous year. This works out at more than one incident every minute.
Mattresses are a particular problem. They are notoriously difficult and expensive to recycle and most of them end up in landfill sites – adding to the pressure on these sites and costing the taxpayer money.
The LGA's call – made in a submission to the Government about tackling waste crime – comes as councils warn the nation's beauty spots and loveliest villages are increasingly under threat from a fresh tide of tipping. Cases include:
- Test Valley, Hampshire: Idyllic villages suffered a spate of incidents, including dumped mattresses.
- Gloucestershire: A tip of fridge-freezers, sofas and mattresses was dumped on Cleeve Common.
- Telford & Wrekin, West Midlands: A collection of rotting household furniture, an old TV and other rubbish was dumped next to the beautiful ruins of Lilleshall Abbey.
- Swindon: Old mattresses, furniture and ironing boards were dumped at the historic Railway Village.
LGA Environment spokesman Cllr Peter Box said:
"Fly-tipping is at a record level and increasingly the country's loveliest beauty spots and villages are being scarred and disfigured.
"This blight on our most beautiful countryside, towns and cities is costing councils a fortune when they have already seen significant budget reductions.
"Mattresses and furniture are some of the most fly-tipped items and in these unprecedented circumstances it is only fair that the manufacturers do more to help. It is extremely difficult and costly to recycle mattresses, so most of them end up in landfill sites, which are already under severe pressure.
"Manufacturers should show leadership on this issue and provide more ‘bring back' services and contribute towards the cost of councils' clear-ups, on a voluntary basis."
Local authorities dealt with a total of 852,000 incidents of fly-tipping in 2013/14, an increase of 20 per cent since 2012/13 with nearly two-thirds of fly-tips involving household waste. The estimated cost of clearance of fly-tipping to Local Authorities in England in 2013/14 was £45.2 million, a 24 per cent increase on 2012/13. Local Authorities carried out nearly 500,000 enforcement actions at an estimated cost of £17.3 million, which was over a £2 million increase on the previous year. This equated to an increase of 18 per cent on enforcement actions in the same period.
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