It's time for fly-tipping to buzz off
A blog by RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmond.
Fly-tipping is a real concern and can leave a big blot on our wonderful landscape. In 2018, it was recognised as a national rural crime priority by the National Police Chiefs Council. This strategy refers to fly-tipping as "household and commercial wasteland waste left through organised criminality" and a "public priority that needs tackling".
Humans, wildlife and pets can all fall victim to fly-tipping
Fly-tipping is often dealt with by local authorities, however, it can also end up a messy problem for farmers and landowners to have to deal with. Although it's not just us humans who suffer - dumped rubbish can be a very real hazard for our wildlife, farm livestock and even our dogs who many of us take on daily walks.
This dumped rubbish can contain broken glass, sharp objects, plastics and many other materials that can cause injury. How would any of us feel if whilst walking our dog, they suddenly cut their paw? While it's distressing to think about, it's a threat and on top of that - if an owner's out in the countryside, they may several miles away from the nearest emergency vet.
Read more about how you can help wildlife: Vegetable patches to football nets: Why netting endangers wildlife.
Help keep our countryside clean
Roaming the countryside should be rewarding for all two, four or more legged creatures. We may even be able to spot our larger British mammal friends such as foxes, deer and badgers.
What happens if they come across this rubbish? Sadly, they're likely to be at the same risk as our dogs would be - however, there might not be anyone for miles to see them and help. Hopefully, sometimes they will be spotted by a passerby who can contact our team of animal rescuers at the RSPCA to help but for many, the story devastatingly ends here.
You can also help to keep your local community clean by pledging your time and joining Keep Britain Tidy in the Great British Spring Clean. Their Big Bag Challenge is a great way to help keep your communities and countryside clean.
Before you dump rubbish, take a moment to think about the little hedgehog who may come by foraging for food or the excited dog being walked nearby.
Over one million fly-tipping incidents reported
So is fly-tipping a problem, is it adding to the litter problem and is it total rubbish? The answer to all three is a big yes. So, can we avoid it? Like all litter, we can with a little thoughtfulness and consideration. We all need to respect and enjoy our towns and countryside. The bottom line is:
- Fly-tipping is cruelty to our wildlife.
- Fly-tipping can be another source of damaging pollution.
- Fly-tipping is a threat to both humans and wildlife, spoiling and damaging our environment.
- Fly-tipping is the illegal deposit of waste on land and can range from a few bags to larger deposits of waste. It doesn't need to be 'big rubbish' to be a big problem.
A growing problem: Fly-tipping facts
- In 2020/2021, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% on the previous year.
- 65% of these incidents involved household waste. The most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on pavements and roads (43% of reports in 2020/2021).
- 17% of incidents in 2020/2021 were on council land, footpaths and bridleways.
Stand up against dirty and dangerous fly-tipping
We receive around 8,000 calls a year about animals affected by litter and unfortunately, our wildlife are the main victims when it comes to people's rubbish.
Sadly, as pet owners go directly to vets, and many injured wild animals are never found, it's estimated that the actual figure of animals injured by litter is much higher than we currently know.
Find out more about how littering affects animals.
Please help us say no to fly-tipping and speak up for the animals who need us. If you see incidents of fly-tipping please report them to your local council.