Fly-tipped waste discovered 71 times a day in Leeds
Fly-tipped waste is discovered in Leeds 71 times a day on average, figures reveal.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows 26,079 fly-tipping incidents were reported to Leeds City Council in 2019-20 – 6,332 fewer than the previous year.
The Local Government Association warned that the offence costs UK taxpayers almost £50 million a year to clear up.
Dumped waste was found on Leeds's footpaths and bridleways 10,701 times accounting for 41 per cent of incidents, 2,390 discoveries were made in back alleyways (nine per cent) and 3,783 on roads and pavements (15 per cent).
Fly-tipped rubbish can include household waste, white goods and construction waste.
Environmental Charity Keep Britain Tidy says the crime is being driven by conmen who offer to remove household rubbish for a fee but do not dispose of it correctly.
Across England, the most common amount of rubbish dumped and reported to councils is equivalent to a small van load.
Small van loads of waste were dumped illegally on 9,936 occasions in Leeds – 38 per cent of all reports.
A further 781 incidents saw fly-tippers discard enough rubbish to fill a tipper lorry each, costing the council £1,800 to clear.
There were also 990 incidents which required multiple loads to clear, at a cost of £2,200.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “This environmental crime is being driven by ‘man with a van’ operators who are conning the public with what appears to be a cheap way of getting rid of their rubbish, but one that leads to illegal disposal and environmental devastation.
“Tragically, some businesses that hold a waste carrier licence are breaking the law and fly-tipping the rubbish that households pay them to remove.
“This must stop. We believe the only way to prevent further law-breaking is to fundamentally reform the system.
"We need tests and hurdles to ensure waste carriers are legitimate and accountable.
"Licences should be difficult to get, thoroughly checked and essential to carry out door-to-door waste collection."
Leeds City Council took action over 26,476 fly-tipping offences in 2019-20.
The authority undertook 26,079 investigations and issued 125 fixed penalty notices.
It also prosecuted eight incidents in court, at a cost of £5,600. Such action resulted in seven fines, totalling £10,620, being handed to offenders.
But the number of fly-tipping incidents reported the council fell by almost 20 per cent in the year prior to the pandemic.
The council's executive member for environment and active lifestyles, Councillor Mohammed Rafique, said: "This reflects work across Leeds to challenge people who flytip and enforce penalties against those caught dumping waste illegally.
"Leeds is fortunate to have committed volunteer groups determined to take action to reduce waste, litter and flytipping such as Litter Free Leeds and Zero Waste Leeds, but the council also clearly has a big role to play on this issue."
Coun Rafique said the city's Household Waste and Recycling Centres have seen more than half a million visitors since they reopened in May following the first national lockdown.
He added: "We also provide support to re-use organisations to help ensure reusable items can be collected from homes.
"The council offers a subsidised collection service for other bulky items, which is to be expanded to up to five items per collection from April, and is free to those on council tax support.
"Leeds also continues to be in the minority of councils that still offers a free kerbside garden waste collection service, reaching over 220,000 households."
Anyone who witnesses fly tipping taking place can report the incident hereSupport the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe