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Fly-tipping incidents are on the rise – with more rubbish being illegally dumped in rural areas.
Local authorities dealt with 936,000 fly-tipping incidents in 2015/16, according to the latest government statistics.
This represents a 4% per cent increase over 2014/15.
The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways, which accounted for half of total incidents in 2015/16, a 7.9% increase on 2014/15.
See also: New action plan to tackle fly-tipping
But the statistics suggest more offenders are choosing quieter rural locations rather than urban streets and alleys to dump their rubbish.
Incidents of fly-tipping on footpaths and bridleways increased by 8% during the year compared to a 6.7% decline in back alleyways.
Some 67% of fly-tips involved household waste, an increase of 65% from 2014/15.
One third of all incidents consisted of a quantity of material equivalent to a small van load.
The second largest size category for fly-tipping incidents was a ‘car boot’, which accounted for 29% of total incidents by size.
These findings are consistent with the 2014/15 year.
The cost of clearance for fly-tipping to local authorities in England was £49.8m, with councils carrying out some 494,000 enforcement actions.
These ranged from investigations and warning letters to fixed penalities.
Some 36,000 fixed penalty notices were issued in 2015/16, accounting for 7% of all enforcement actions, a 5.9% decrease from 38,000 penality notices in 2014/15.
The figures have prompted farmers and landowners to call for more action to tackle the problem.
Large scale co-ordinated dumping was now a regular occurrence and thousands of tonnes of rubbish were blighting the countryside, said the NFU.
Rubbish included clinical waste and rubble from construction sites – as well as large domestic items such as washing machines, fridges, sofas, mattresses and furniturre.
Current rules mean farmers and landowners are left facing hefty bills to remove fly-tipped waste from their land.
NFU deputy president Minette Batters said the solution was better collaboration between all those affected parties.
“Fly-tipping is the scourge of the countryside – clearly we are disappointed that the number of fly-tipping incidents has increased,” said Ms Batters.
She added: “We need a broader government strategy that allows incidents to be reported more effectively and cleared up [and] intelligence to be shared more easily.|”
A campaign was also needed to raise awareness among householders on their responsibilities when disposing of unwanted waste.