New government regulations on fly-tipping may not offer a complete solution to prevent illegal dumping on vacant properties
In April this year the government amended the existing Control of Waste Regulations to extend to vehicles suspected of fly tipping. This is the latest move in a series of measures taken by the government to control the country’s rampant fly tipping epidemic.
Whilst expected to aid in the enforcement of anti-fly tipping legislation in general, unprotected, vacant properties are likely to continue to be at risk of illegal dumping.
The changes in legislation follow a report by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which found a 20% increase in fly-tipping between 2013 and 2014.
Overall, local UK authorities dealt with 852 thousand incidents of fly-tipping in 2013/14, compared with 711 thousand the previous year, figures that suggest fly tipping is rampant and on the rise. The Sunday Mirror, who recently launched their own Keep It Clean campaign against fly-tipping, estimates that fly-tipping occurs as often as every 37 seconds.
More fly tipping incidents have also resulted in greater expenditure on clearing illegally discarded rubbish, with the government’s report showing that Local Authorities in England have spent an estimated £45.2 million on fly-tipping clearance in 2013/2014 – a 24 percent increase from the previous twelve months.
The new legislation also extends the range of offences for which a vehicle involved in fly tipping can be seized, removes the need for a warrant to seize said vehicles and sets out rules for when enforcement authorities can destroy seized properties.
The legislative changes follow additional figures from the government’s report which show over half of the fly-tipping incidents recorded last year were either small van, transit van or car-boot size loads.
According to the report, fly-tipping most commonly occurred on highways, but incidents were also frequent on footpaths, back alleyways and, importantly, on vacant buildings sites with no security.
Vacant properties are particularly vulnerable to fly-tipping, as an unguarded premises can be an easy target for stealthily disposing of waste.
Giving teeth to fly tipping legislation in this way is likely to make some inroads in the campaign to reduce illegal dumping overall, but it is unlikely to eliminate it entirely.
Any efforts to eradicate fly tipping will need to look to the route of the problem: unoccupied and unsupervised spaces that are vulnerable to dumping.
With this in view, vacant property security companies are likely to continue to play a pivotal role in the campaign against fly tipping.