Coronavirus sparks 300% fly-tipping surge after recycling site closures

Fly-tipping has surged by up to 300% as recycling sites have closed due to the coronavirus crisis. (Picture: SWNS)

Fly-tipping has surged by up to 300% in some parts of Britain as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The closure of recycling sites has seen people dump household waste on roadsides, lanes, parks and fields.

Officials say homeowners are taking rubbish to recycling centres but when they find them closed are dumping it outside instead.

One council revealed the amount of waste fly-tipped in its area has surged three-fold in recent weeks.

Municipal rubbish dumps are closed and a growing number of councils have cut collections of food and garden waste in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

West Oxfordshire District Council shared pictures on social media of rubbish dumped in a supermarket car park near recycling bins, urging people not to dump waste in communal recycling areas as they have to be cleared every day by the council’s waste team, using valuable resources.

A spokesman for the council said: “We have not calculated the exact tonnage data as yet but we can say we have seen a threefold increase in items at key sites which is forcing us to carry out additional collections with a dedicated crew and truck.

“It’s a mixture of items. I can’t speak for other councils but I am sure the situation is being replicated across Oxon following the closure of the household recycling centres.”

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Cllr Norman MacRae, cabinet member for the environment, said: “While we have some sympathy with residents who may have quantities of waste building up, we must emphasise that for everyone’s safety please refrain from dumping it in public spaces.

“This places an unnecessary additional workload on our cleaning teams and is not acceptable at any time let alone the current coronavirus situation.

Officials are urging people not to dump waste outside recycling centres. (Picture: SWNS)

Councillors in Lancashire also branded fly-tippers “disgusting” for taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to dump rubbish.

Ray Davies, Liberal Democrat councillor for Darwen East, said: “We are in a situation where we are advised to isolate but, in some areas, they are taking advantage and simply fly tipping and not making full use of the bins.

“People are simply throwing bags and furniture into the back alleys and saying nothing to do with me.”

The surge in fly-tipping is adding pressure on already-stretched council resources. (Picture: SWNS)


He added: “This is appalling. We need to be cleaner and more hygienic but here we have thoughtless residents taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and dumping rubbish in back alleys while the borough council staff are busy with other issues to do with the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are in isolation because of dirty habits, this must be a warning to all of us that we cannot keep doing this and must work together for the sake of future generations and the planet.

“We must help the council and take responsibility for our actions or we will be in isolation for a much longer time.”

The problem has been spotted by councils across the country. (Picture: SWNS)

He said he can cleaned two streets himself with help from the council, but back streets in the area had been swamped with more rubbish from fly-tippers.

Household waste has also appeared in alleyways in Stoke-on-Trent, including uneaten food and fridges.

Monienne Stone, secretary of Fenton Events Board, said: “Fly-tipping has been an ongoing problem in many areas of Fenton.

“It's an urgent public health issue. People need to understand that it’s not OK to dump litter as it endangers all our health. There's also the cost to the taxpayer to clear it up.”

Beauty spots have also fallen victim to fly-tipping, with people dumping rubbish on rural verges and in lanes and fields. (Picture: SWNS)

Greater Manchester has also seen a surge in fly-tipping, with bin bags, household furniture items and cardboard boxes piled up in streets in Collyhurst, Chadderton and Saddleworth, while items have also been dumped in local beauty spots.

Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, said: “At a time when we should all be pulling together, it is disgraceful that anybody still thinks that it is OK to fly-tip in our neighbourhoods.

“We will continue our enforcement efforts on behalf of Manchester residents and prosecute offenders whenever the evidence allows.”

Scotland has faced a similar situation, with rubbish dumped at a recycling centre in Fife and waste strewn across a grassy verge at a rural beauty spot.

Dawn Jamieson, safer communities team manager at Fife Council, said: “Because centres have been closed people will be thinking it’s acceptable to be putting their rubbish and that’s not the message we’re trying to get across.

“There really isn’t an excuse at all - people are very irresponsible. With everything else going on at the moment, how people are finding the time to go out and go against the government’s advice to make unnecessary journeys and dump rubbish is beyond me.”

Councillors and officials have branded fly-tippers selfish and urged them not to dump waste. (Picture: SWNS)

Ken Gourlay, head of assets and transportation and environment at Fife Council, said: “Unfortunately, in these challenging times when council services are already under additional pressure, the misuse of recycling points and fly tipping are issues.”

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