New fly tipping figures ‘barely scratch surface’ says Country Land & Business Association

Fly tipping Photo Wildlife Conservation in Thanet

Newly-released figures from the government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show there were more than one million incidents of fly-tipping on public land across the country in the last year – and more than 100,000 in the South East alone.

Councils in England dealt with 1.08 million fly-tipping incidents in 2022/2023, though these figures only account for waste illegally dumped on public land that has been reported to the authorities.

The mass of fly tipped waste on public land is  actually a decrease of 1% from the 1.09 million reported in 2021/22.

In 2022/23, 60% of fly-tips involved household waste. Total incidents involving household waste were 653,000 in 2022/23, a decrease of 3% from 671,000 incidents in 2021/22.

Representing around 27,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) believes these figures only tell a fraction of the story.

Many fly-tipping incidents occur on privately-owned land, painting an even more damaging picture of the financial burden and environmental impact fly-tipping brings. One CLA member is so badly affected he pays £50,000 a year to clear up waste.

Meanwhile the figures also show a 19% drop in the number of fixed penalty notices issued.

Data for Thanet

Data for Thanet shows there were 2535 fly tipping incidents recorded for the year with the council taking action on 1070 occasions. There were 98 Fixed Penalty Notices recorded  and Thanet council carried out 426 investigations.

The authority sent six warning letters and 81 statutory notices but did not bring any prosecutions.

Fly-tip on St Peter’s farmland in 2023

Last October voluntary tree warden Karen McKenzie launched a petition to try and force a change regarding the clearance of fly tipping from farmland sites.

The Broadstairs resident and artist says the burden of removing illegally dumped waste should not lie with the farmland owner but should be contributed to by local government.

She said: ”It is time for the law to be changed.  Farmers should not have to pay for cleaning up what is a wider societal problem.

“All layers of government where we pay taxes could perhaps contribute to a scheme that would compensate farmers who have to clear up after these environmental vandals who think they are above the law.

“If we can’t solve this problem then at least the farmers shouldn’t have to pick up the bill.”

Karen was prompted to set up the petition after seeing two fly-tips in the same place on land behind St Peter’s churchyard.

CLA South East represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses, including in Kent, and says the figures do not show the ‘mass scale’ of dumping on private land such as farms.

Tim Bamford (Image CLA)

Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “These fly-tipping figures barely scratch the surface of a crime that’s blighting rural communities, with incidents on private land going unrecorded on a mass scale.

“Farmers and landowners bear the cost of removing rubbish and they pay on average £1,000 to remove waste. This is not a victimless crime – in some cases they have paid up to £100,000 to clear up other people’s mess or risk facing prosecution themselves.

“It’s not just litter blotting the landscape, but tonnes of household and commercial waste which can often be hazardous – even including asbestos and chemicals – endangering farmers, wildlife, livestock, crops and the environment.

“While courts can sentence offenders to prison or unlimited fines, prosecutions are rare and criminals clearly do not fear the system. We are calling for local authorities to help clear fly-tipping incidents on private as well as public land, while the various enforcement agencies must be properly trained and resourced.

“Without more progress farmers, not the criminals, will continue to pay the price.”

Kent County Councillor Barry Lewis (Labour) is the shadow Cabinet member for environment.

He said: “I warned KCC officers that the charging for non-household waste brought in during 2019 would lead to a substantial increase in fly tipping in the county.

“Unfortunately my fears have been proven correct. I am glad the government has over-ruled KCC (and other councils) and has made them scrap the charges.

“I urge Thanet and Kent councils to make a more determined attempt to prosecute as this deterrent has only been used in a handful of cases.

“As shadow Cabinet member for environment at KCC this is a local Labour Party priority.”

Dealing with fly-tips

Thanet council says it endeavours to act promptly to investigate when a fly-tip is reported and the waste is removed as quickly as possible to prevent further items being dumped at the same spot

There is CCTV in known hotspots across the district. Fly-tipping can lead to a £400 fixed penalty notice or a criminal prosecution and up to five years in prison.

If a resident sees any fly-tipping in the district, they are asked to report it via the council’s online form. There is also an online map which shows existing fly-tipping reports which TDC is in the process of investigating.

More information is available on the council’s website.


  1. Fly tippers are absolute scum, they are a menace to our last remaining wildlife, our dwindling farmland and green spaces. If it was up to me they would all be shot. I actually feel sorry for their children, it can’t be easy having an uneducated, knuckle dragging Neanderthal as a parent.

    • The top picture clearly shows a demolition job.

      Somebody must know where the grey door with the large handle has originated – it is not a standard domestic fitting.

      Time to identify the culprits who are clearly looking to increase their profit margin by s****ing on the rest of us.

  2. Fly tippers are absolute scum, they are a menace to our last remaining wildlife, our dwindling farmland and green spaces. I actually feel sorry for their children, it can’t be easy having an uneducated, knuckle dragging Neanderthal retard as a parent.

  3. No concerned, they are people like you and me. Because there is so little chance of being caught that they fly tip thinking that (a) there is no jeopardy to their life and liberty,and (b) that it is a victimless crime in that rich landowners or councils will clean up behind them.
    Now we both know that is not true.
    Threatening people with capital condign punishment that will never be carried out is both pointless and demeans you.As for Neanderthals they were a successful branch of hominid.From what I can I have read, it was climate change that might have ended the line, but also there maybe a bit neanderthal in all of us if interbreeding took place between them and early Homo Sapiens.If climate change ended Neanderthals we might go the same way.
    People will not commit crime if they think they will get caught.The deterrence is being caught not punishment.
    If we want to curtail not end this plague relying on the Environment agency and a few council officers is not going to achieve much.
    We need to form a county wide investigation team with resources, fines need to be higher to fund the team, and KCC needs to make it easier not harder to dispose of waste properly.
    Cutting budgets thoughtlessly has consequences.Barry Lewis is on the right lines.

    • George, no wonder these people don’t fear the law as apologists such as yourself will blame everyone other than the criminals. You and others like you won’t stop until no one is accountable for their crimes. Your short sighted, rose tinted views on criminals are laughable at best. Everyone is accountable for their own actions and everybody has a moral compass, unfortunately scum choose to disobey our laws, and no wonder when people such as yourself will apologise for them.
      Get a grip George, people choose to flout the law, stop apologising for people who choose to live like scum and make the rest our lives a misery. It’s time that the rights of the law abiding citizens are held in higher regards than the lowlifes that are a cancer to society. And lastly George, these people who are damaging our dwindling wildlife habitats are not like me, I follow the law and have respect for others and expect others to follow the same path rather than picking and choosing which laws they want to follow.

    • I don’t think he meant ‘Neanderthal’ literally. I think he meant it as a synonym for ‘uncivilised’. And you forgot to mention that Neanderthal knuckles didn’t reach the ground. But thanks for the lesson anyway.

  4. Free dumping at the local tips might help. After all isn’t that what gheh were put in place for.

    Also make the tips a valid busines recycling items.

    A shop perhaps.

  5. Enforcement is expensive. There is no duty on either the Local Authority or the Environment Agency to carry out enforcement. They both have the legal ability to enforce, but no duty to do so. Nor do they get any money from or for enforcement. Therefore when their budgets come under pressure, guess what they do? They focus on their legal duties and their allocated income streams.

    • Where does all the £400 fixed penalties go then? In the pockets of the enforcement officers? No, the local authorities they work for. Just like all the parking FPN’s and meter money. I believe the parking wardens who were sacked last year thought differently though.

  6. Thank you Mr Rees. You have hit the matter right on the nail.
    What is the point of making blood curdling threats and abuse, when there is not the slightest chance of catching the perpetrators.It’s not apologising for their actions ,it is addressing them.
    I have suggested some solutions to this problem, but of course they are boring practical measures that might work, and not in accord with the grandstanding, unhinged ranting from ‘Concerned’.What are you ‘concerned about’. Is it to appear tough on crime, or does it sound good in front of the readers and those whose world is coming apart, because Broken Britain is becoming unhinged itself?
    This is where ‘populism’ fails, it is all about sound and fury with no substance. I have a grip, plenty of it, but because you are suffering from cultural dissonance, you are not listening.

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