Coronavirus and Fly Tipping
Defra’s advice to waste disposal sites to increase their capacity has been met with concern about an increased incidence of fly-tipping. The closure of waste disposal sites has increased the incidence of fly-tipping and has resulted in an increase in coronavirus infections among people. A rise in the number of reported cases of fly-tipping has led to increased police activity against the issue. However, there are still many problems to be resolved.
Defra’s Guideline on prioritising waste collection services
Defra has published guidance for waste collectors, compiled with input from the waste industry and local authorities. It categorises fourteen waste services into high, medium and low priorities. High priority services include residual ‘black bag’ waste collections, food waste, care home and clinical waste removal, fly-tipping, and removal of absorbent hygiene waste. Medium priority services include household waste recycling centres and fortnightly dry recyclables.
The guidance outlines the importance of maintaining waste collection services. Councils should try to maintain their current waste services, including the separate collection of food waste and dry recyclable materials. Fly-tipping should be addressed as a priority, and clear messaging must be provided to residents regarding their duty of care. Closure of HWRCs and reduced residual waste collections could increase the risk of fly-tipping.
The NFU is also encouraging landowners to report suspected fly-tipping. NFU has raised the issue with Defra, who has advised local authorities to take a pragmatic approach. While Defra’s guidance recognises the need for independent assessments and reopening of centres, it has also been designed to help landowners manage their contaminated waste. Local authorities should also review their collection schedules and consider the availability of subcontractors in the area.
Low priority services include collecting garden waste and bulky items, deliveries of replacement containers, and weekly dry recyclable collections. Local authorities should ensure enough staff at their HWRC sites to meet demand. If these services are not available, local authorities should consider suspending or changing them. HWRCs should continue to provide waste collection services to households if they can do so.
They should also maintain social distancing rules and adequate staffing levels. If collection services are cut for any reason, it may lead to increased fly-tipping, and therefore reduced services should be reviewed. Further, households should be advised to put out their bags a week before collecting. Some household waste collection services, such as kitchen and bathroom waste, should continue.
This is the legal requirement for these services to operate. Failure to provide these services would have detrimental consequences on human and environmental health. However, households with limited storage space may not be able to use the service. Some household wastes cannot be stored at home and maybe hazardous or redundant.
Impact of closure of waste disposal sites
There has been an increased incidence of fly-tipping in rural communities since the closure of waste recycling and disposal centres during the coronavirus crisis. This increase is due to the closure of waste recycling and disposal sites across the UK, increased home clearances, and the resulting increase in waste left outside. A recent analysis by Southampton and Portsmouth Universities found that the closure of waste recycling and disposal centres increased reported fly-tipping by 300 per cent in rural communities.
The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), which represents over 30 Police and Crime Commissioners and organisations focusing on rural Britain, urges the Government to take an urgent approach to the crisis. The network has written to George Eustice MP, asking him to take the situation seriously. They are particularly concerned about the closure of waste disposal centres due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The closure of waste disposal sites will impact the number of fly-tipping cases, as well as the incidence of waste crime. However, the waste industry is unlikely to reopen the sites due to social distancing rules. Consequently, DEFRA is in a difficult situation. The closure of waste disposal sites has a huge impact on the number of people affected by a coronavirus.
The Government has promised to publish a toolkit for local authorities to help tackle the problem of fly-tipping. It has also promised to introduce electronic waste tracking. As of December, the Government committed to publishing a web-based toolkit to combat fly-tipping. Furthermore, the Environment Bill 2020-21 will include electronic tracking of waste.
Following the Coronavirus pandemic, local councils were forced to prioritise fly-tipping. The COVID-19 pandemic, which reached Europe in early 2020, forced the public authorities to implement new procedures and waste management systems to combat the problem. These new procedures include introducing measures to protect public health and workers and general waste treatment requirements.
The closure of waste disposal sites also forced public authorities to put safety measures to avoid further spreading of the virus. In addition to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, the closure of waste disposal sites impacted the collection and treatment of residual waste. Secure waste disposal sites can increase the incidence of fly-tipping due to the lack of collection services for putrescible waste.
Consequently, local authorities may be required to put out alternative collection services for putrescible waste and implement supplier-run take-back schemes. In addition, they must ensure that households are aware of when to put out their containers for collection. Households should store used tissues for 72 hours before putting them out for collection. Increase in incidence of fly-tipping Official Statistics has published a report revealing a rise in fly-tipping incidents.
Incidences of this disease are increasing in some parts of the UK, and the increase in incidence may be related to a rise in pandemic factors such as the coronavirus. The statistics reveal that 65% of these incidents involve household waste, but a further 16% increase was recorded in highway fly-tipping. This rise is also being attributed to a broader shift in how local authorities report fly-tipping data.
The first year of the Coronavirus pandemic prompted councils to introduce a national lockdown in March 2020, which resulted in the suspension of the collection of garden, bulky waste, and dry recyclates. This also led to the widespread closure of household waste recycling centres, but many were reopened despite the restrictions. The increased numbers of fly-tipping incidents are likely to result from the changes in how households dispose of waste.
In the UK, authorities have also become more proactive and stringent in their enforcement of flytipping, resulting in higher incidents overall. For example, large authorities are likely to have large enforcement teams who use sophisticated methods to catch fly-tippers so this data may be misleading. However, despite these shortcomings, coronavirus flytipping cases have been on the rise for the last five years.
Although the number of fly-tipping incidents has continued to increase, the proportion of prosecutions against fly-tippers has also increased. In 2019, over 99% of prosecutions resulted in a fine, while 92% resulted in community service. Since the lockdown measures, more than 57 prosecutions have resulted in more than 100 community service outcomes. This increased incidence of coronavirus is primarily due to a rise in the number of fly-tipping incidents.
The report also shows that coronavirus fly-tipping incidents have increased in England, with the highest incidences occurring in Northampton and Camden. The District Councils’ Network, which represents lower-tier authorities in England, said that the most recent data does not reflect the full impact of the pandemic. This is because the data does not include the location of the fly-tipping incidents. According to the World Health Organisation, the first case of the new coronavirus was reported in Egypt.
The World Health Organization traced the case to a visitor from one of the countries affected by the outbreak. The person had no symptoms at the time of the outbreak, and the case is currently isolated and in a stable condition. If the increase continues, researchers say the risk of spreading the virus to new areas will continue to increase as more people return to their jobs. The recent spike in coronavirus cases has shocked researchers.
However, it is important to note that the sudden increase in cases does not mean that the epidemic is getting worse. This increase is likely due to a shift in reporting the disease. It has been reported in Iran, Italy, and South Korea, and the World Health Organization has confirmed that it is transmitted human-to-human. Thankfully, health authorities have the means to limit the number of cases by isolating infected individuals and closely monitoring their contacts.
Coronavirus and Fly Tipping – Learn more about UK business waste statistics here
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