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STOP THE TIPPERS; As dumped rubbish scars our countryside and costs us millions, the says it's time to...

Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY NICOLA FIFIELD

A SHOCKING surge in fly-tipping has turned large parts of the country into an eyesore and is costing us millions of pounds a year.

A Sunday Mirror investigation has found that the number of people dumping items such as broken fridges and old mattresses has risen by a fifth in just 12 months.

In some areas of the country lines of dumped rubbish stretch for more than a mile. Fly-tippers strike as often as every 37 seconds and piles of scrap are a common sight at beauty spots.

So today the Sunday Mirror launches Keep it Clean - a campaign against the trashing of our country.

We are backing Keep Britain Tidy's calls for a Minister for Litter, better enforcement and tougher penalties.

Our investigation shows that councils in England and Wales are now spending PS45.2million on the problem every year - enough to pay 2,000 extra nurses.

Last year there were 852,000 incidents of illegally dumped waste - the highest number ever recorded. Meanwhile the number of prosecutions has dropped, from 2,170 in 2012/13 to 2,002 in 2013/14.

Richard McIlwain, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, which estimates councils spend PS1billion a year on all street cleaning, said: "Fly-tipping is an issue that generates so much passion but the Government doesn't seem interested.

STRATEGY

"What we need is a dedicated Minister for Litter who can develop a national strategy, co-ordinate a national campaign and pull people together to sort this out."

Local authorities are legally obliged to clear up waste on public land. On private land it is the landowner's responsibility.

It is believed that the rate of fly-tipping has soared partly due to the small number of prosecutions. Culprits continue to offend because they get away with it.

Council-run tips are also becoming more strict over who can use them. Many require proof of identity and will turn away anyone who cannot provide suitable papers.

Now more people are dumping their waste at the nearest remote spot.

Farmers have been particularly badly hit. A study by the National Farmers' Union revealed they are left with an annual bill of PS47million to clean up their land.

One farmer from Doncaster, who asked not to be named because of threats from fly-tippers, said: "The problem is so bad we've had to dig several miles of dry ditches around my hedgerows so vehicles can't drive on to my land and dump waste."

In Bedfordshire, piles of industrial rubbish have been left on farmer Peter Kendall's land three times in two weeks this month.

"Fly-tipping is forcing farmers to turn their farms into fortresses," he said. Figures reveal that 7,062 animal carcasses were dumped last year. Councils were called to 3,181 incidents of asbestos waste and 2,711 of abandoned chemical drums. More than 33,700 broken fridges, freezers, washing machines and cookers were dumped as well as 14,396 tyres and 158,394 bin bags of household waste.

London is the worst place for fly-tipping. Six of the 10 local authorities which reported the most incidents in 2013/14 are in the capital.

Newham had the most - 67,930 cases - and spent PS3.03million clearing up.

While people who drop litter in the street can be issued with PS75 fixed-penalty notices, there is no similar punishment for fly-tippers. Convicted offenders can be jailed for up to five years and face an unlimited fine. But prosecutions are rare due to the legal costs involved.

Of those prosecuted last year, only 10 went to prison. A further 19 were ordered to carry out community service, 1,685 were fined and 183 received absolute or conditional discharges.

Mr McIlwain said: "What we want to see for small scale fly-tipping is the introduction of PS1,000 fixed penalty notices."

nicola.fifield@trinitymirror.co.uk

COMMENT: PAGE 14

MOST CASES OF FLY-TIPPING

1. Newham 67,930

2. Enfield 31,692

3. Haringey 31,045

4. Southwark 26,638

5. Manchester 21,449

6. Sheffield 18,084

7. Liverpool 17,882

8. Westminster 17,121

9. Birmingham 16,186

10. Hounslow 15,864

MOST SPENT ON FLY-TIPPING

1. Newham PS3.03million

2. Manchester PS1.56million

3. Haringey PS1.49million

4. Croydon PS1.37million

5. Enfield PS1.35million

6. Hackney PS1.21million

7. Southwark PS1.11million

8. Birmingham PS813,548

9. Sheffield PS808,792

10. Harrow PS740,504

BIGGEST TOTAL OF FINES

1. Burnley PS59,295

2. Enfield PS44,628

3. Hammersmith & Fulham PS40,450

4. South Bucks PS38,940

5. Waltham F/st PS21,555

6. Newcastle upon Tyne PS18,740

7. South Hams PS18,373

8. Kingston upon Hull PS16,405

9. Ealing PS9,760

10. Darlington PS9,403

OUR CALL

1. PS1,000 fixed fines for fly-tipping

2. A Minister for Litter

3. Sign our petition for tougher penalties for litter louts at mirror.co.uk/litter

4. Send us YOUR photos of people littering

CAPTION(S):

BLACKPOOL This trucker was caught on CCTV and later given a suspended jail sentence

BRISTOL Abandoned, broken white goods deface an otherwise very pretty country lane

CARDIFF A pile of discarded mattresses is left to completely block a residential street

CORNWALL Fly-tippers leave their mess, turning the green fields into a terrible eyesore

SALFORD, MANCHESTER A driver caught on CCTV dumping this garden waste was later fined

PURFLEET, ESSEX Old sofas, chairs and fridges cover an area for more than a mile

A rural road is blocked by planks of wood, old sinks, discarded furniture & other waste items SUSSEX
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 31, 2015
Words:922
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