The UK recorded 1.1 million incidents of fly-tipping last year — the highest number recorded for over a decade, since 2008/09.

Bridleways and public footpaths were affected particularly badly, with the highest number of fly-tipping incidents in 13 years — equating to 543 a day and a jump of 10 percent compared to the previous year.

As a result, campaigners are warning of the impact on natural landscapes – and on people who use bridleways and footpaths, including riders. Equestrians are being encouraged to report incidents and vehicles involved in fly-tipping through the website or FixMyStreet.

The litter goes beyond everyday items: over the last year, incidents of dumping tyres rose by a quarter and people discarding vehicle parts increased by 15 percent. There was also a 47 percent upturn in fly-tipping of chemical drums or oil/fuels. Offenders can be punished with a maximum fine of £50,000, or even a jail sentence.

How can we help?

Local groups and charities such as Keep Britain Tidy are helping tackle littering and to educate communities.

“Fly-tipping differs from littering as the illegal deposit of waste on land, removing the waste from premises where it was originally produced, with the deliberate aim to dispose of this waste unlawfully,” said Hannah Poole, trainee solicitor at leading criminal defence firm Olliers.

“Any individual who produces waste has a duty of care to ensure that it’s disposed of properly. This applies to both householders and businesses. If convicted, the penalties individuals may face include a fine and/or a prison sentence of up to five years.

“The Fly-tipping Partnership Framework encourages enforcement agencies, residents and landowners to act together at a local level and provide ideas. A major factor in preventing fly-tipping is promoting understanding of the potential penalties.

“There is no requirement for people to report fly-tipping, but to encourage the public to report it, it needs to be easy and individuals need to know it is worth reporting. To report fly-tipping or illegal waste dumping, individuals should contact the local council – and we need more people to do just that.”

Susie Burrage, ambassador and board member of the Global Recycling Foundation, added: “Many villages, towns and cities have seen junk piled up high in remote spots, as people clear out their homes to make space for offices. Huge amounts of taxpayers’ money is now being spent on litter collection, which could be going to vital public services.

“I believe fines have helped to change individual behaviour, but we must challenge and change consumer behaviour. People must be educated in the best ways of preserving our natural resources and given easy access to well-organised and efficient recycling systems.”

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