Fly-tipped waste is dumped an average 17 times a day in Luton
Fly-tipped waste is dumped in Luton 17 times a day on average, figures have revealed.
Data from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) shows 6,190 fly-tipping incidents were reported to Luton Borough Council in 2019-20. This is an increase of 785 more than the previous year.
This compares to just 786 fly-tipping incidents reported in neighbouring Central Bedfordshire Council over the same period – with 263 fewer incidents than the previous year.
Luton residents have previously complained of overflowing bins and dumped rubbish in several streets of the town (see previous story here).
According to DEFRA's data, dumped waste was found on Luton's roads and pavements 1,021 times in 2019/20 - accounting for 16% of incidents.
Small van loads of waste were also dumped illegally in the borough on 3,425 occasions – 55% of all reports.
A further 117 incidents saw fly-tippers discard enough rubbish to fill a tipper lorry each, costing the council £40,950 to clear.
There were also two incidents which required multiple loads to clear, at a cost of £1,400.
Fly-tipping is estimated to cost UK taxpayers £50m each year and is largely driven by conmen who offer to remove household rubbish for a fee, but do not dispose of it correctly.
David Renard, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “Fly-tipping is inexcusable.
"It is not only an eyesore for residents, but a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.
“We continue to urge the Government to review sentencing guidelines for fly-tipping, so that offenders are given bigger fines for more serious offences to act as a deterrent."
He added that manufacturers should provide more take-back services so customers can hand in old goods when they buy new ones.
Luton Borough Council took action over 1,762 fly-tipping offences in 2019-20.
The authority undertook 1,532 investigations, wrote 24 warning letters and issued 174 fixed penalty notices.
It also prosecuted 17 incidents in court, at a cost of £3,525. Such action resulted in 17 fines, totalling £3,525, being handed to offenders.
A Luton Borough Council spokesman said it takes fly-tipping "extremely seriously" and was disappointed by DEFRA's findings that it had increased.
They added: "There is no excuse whatsoever for fly-tipping. Those who do it not only make a mess of our streets, blighting the neighbourhood with rubbish that attracts vermin, but they are also breaking the law and if they are caught they will be penalised.
"Sadly, too often people feel that this is a victimless crime, but it is not. Money spent clearing up this antisocial behaviour could be better used supporting and protecting the vulnerable and needy in the town.
"In the year 20/21 the council issued fines totalling £63,000 for fly tipping offences and has now instigated a more pro-active response to fly tipping. All instances are now thoroughly inspected at the point of removal. This has increased our detection rate.
"In addition, last year we launched a “Wall of Shame”. Residents are asked to identify offenders through posting videos on our website and on social media.
"There is a variety of ways for people to get rid of waste. The council has two tidy tips, provides a special collection service for bulky items and opportunities for recycling unwanted items.
"Where it is necessary to dispose of items via a third party service, we urge anyone using a waste disposal company to ensure they are licensed to do this. Any householder whose items are discovered illegal fly tipped will be held responsible for it, even if they hadn’t put it there personally."