Figures released by Defra show incidents of waste dumped illegally on public land which have been reported to and cleared by local authorities have decreased by just 1% from 2016/2017 to 2017/2018.
Legal action taken by councils against the perpetrators has increased 4% on 2016/2017, with 494,034 actions taken. However this is less than the number of actions taken each year between 2013/4 and 2015/6.
Out of 997,553 fly-tipping incidents in 2017/2018, 137 vehicles were seized (down from 197 in 2016/2017), and out of 2,243 prosecutions, 1,938 fines were imposed, most commonly between £200-500.
The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses says the figures do not reflect the true scale of the crime because reports of fly-tipping on private rural land are not included. The organisation called for stronger enforcement of legal action by local authorities to really combat the crime.
CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “The reality is that overall, figures are considerably higher than these latest official figures, as many incidents go unrecorded and unreported. Private landowners are liable for any waste dumped on their land and are fed up of having to clear up other people’s mess, and paying for the privilege.
“It is vital that more prosecutions are brought forward successfully to encourage people to do the right thing and dispose of their rubbish through proper legal channels. Councils must send a clear message to fly-tippers that they will face financial consequences.
“But to really combat this crime against the countryside we need to see tougher penalties which act as a true deterrent. Imposing and enforcing stiffer penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime is crucial, along with seizing the vehicles used to fly-tip.