Coronavirus lockdown sees huge rise in fly-tipping across UK

14th April 2020 | Recycling

There has been a huge spike in fly-tipping in some parts of the UK during the coronavirus lockdown. The Countryside Alliance reports a 300% rise in fly-tipping in some areas after local authorities closed recycling centres amid the Covid-19 crisis. The rural communities campaign group blame using the lockdown to have a “clear-out of homes and gardens” and dumping the resulting rubbish illegally.

Many councils have shut waste recycling centres during the coronavirus crisis to concentrate on kerbside collections. The increase in fly-tipping is putting added pressure on local authorities already struggling to cope with maintaining services while ensuring the safety of their staff.


While local authorities struggle to maintain basic services, the fight against fly-tipping ha been largely left to campaigners and member of the public. People have been sharing pictures of piles of rubbish left on verges and in fields on social media as environmental campaign groups urge the public to dispose of their waste responsibility during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Countryside Alliance said the impact this spike in fly-tipping was having on communities and the country was “unacceptable”. “We must all remember that fly-tipping is not a victimless crime and has a significant impact on rural areas and wildlife,” the Alliance said in a statement.

Scotland’s leading rural and environmental organisations joined forces to urge “people not to be selfish”. “Now is not the time to try and get rid of items following a spring clean or DIT project, we are urging you to keep them at home until recycling centres re-open and charities begin to collect furniture and clothing again,” a joint statement from NFU Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates, Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Zero Waste Scotland said.

“Please don’t be taken in by offers of cheap disposal – that’s likely to lead to others fly-tipping your items. Keeping items on your own property for a few weeks is better than taking part in criminal act that could have longer term consequences, not to mention a fine of up to £40,000.”

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