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Flytipping rises after seven years of decline

“Councils point finger at householders for 20% rise in illegal dumping of rubbish” runs a headline in the Guardian today.

The rise in flytipping does not surprise me but to blame householders borders on the disingenuous. Look at this screen grab from a Google search for “recycling centre closures” I made this morning:

Screen grab from Google search for "Recycling centre closures".

Screen grab from Google search for “Recycling centre closures”.

All around the country local dumps have been closed by councils trying to cut costs. They must have known this could result in an increase in flytipping. It is one of the consequences of which they have been regularly warned by communities campaigning against such cuts. The surprise is that it has not come earlier.

In truth the situation is not nearly as bad as that 20% figure suggests. It might just be a blip in a downward trend which has seen fly tipping incidents in England fall from 2,500,000 in 2005-06 to 700,000 in 2012-13.

In the past year they rose to 85,000 incidents, an increase of 15,000. Eight years ago a 20% increase would have been 500,000 incidents. Seeing a percentage figure always prompts the question: “Per cent of what?”

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