Fly-Tipping Increase Drives Call For Tips To Be Reopened

An increase in fly-tipping around the UK has led to MPs and councillors calling for a reopening of waste facilities and rubbish tips during the pandemic lockdown, as long as social distancing measures are taken into account.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, via the BBC, Tameside Council in Greater Manchester has seen over 300 incidents of fly-tipping since the restrictions were introduced. And Rochdale saw 887 such incidents in March, compared to 656 in the same month last year.

In Liverpool, meanwhile, the city council said a “sharp rise” had been seen in illegal dumping, while Boston Borough Council in Lincolnshire said it had found more than 50 fly-tipping sites in the last two weeks.

 Current guidance from the government is that councils should maintain their key waste sites where possible, as long as rules relating to social distancing can be followed. There must also be adequate staffing levels for security and health and safety reasons.

Conservative MP for Bournemouth East Tobias Ellwood said that reopening tips would help to “avoid a buildup of fly-tipping”, while Dover and Deal Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke added: “We are in this for the long haul, so it is vital to dispose of rubbish safely and responsibly. More fly-tipping and waste burning is bad for the countryside and the environment.”

Some regions are now seeing waste centres reopening, such as in Merthyr Tydfil, where the local council has announced that some sites will reopen in a limited way in the next few days.

And in Wigan, some recycling centres have already reopened, although people were urged not to rush in all at once and those who could wait until after the weekend should do so to help reduce queues.

A new report into the impact that COVID-19 has had on waste services has just been published by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), finding that 92 per cent of household waste recycling centres are closed, with the rest seeing high levels of disruption.

Since the last survey, an improvement in the number of fly-tipping clearance collections in operation has been seen, rising from 61 per cent to 66 per cent.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely, but it still remains the case that fly tipping is undertaken by criminals and unlicensed operators who do not use HWRCs. Before they closed in line with essential travel guidance, centres were under immense pressure, reporting increased congestion around sites, staff being abused and social distancing difficult to maintain.

“We want to avoid public confusion through the piecemeal opening of household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the country, so local authorities are planning for a controlled and consistent reopening of HWRCs, managed in line with the government exit strategy when it is published,” chair of ADEPT’s waste group Ian Fielding said.

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