Greater Manchester sees 144 fly-tipping incidents every day

New research reveals that 144 incidents of fly-tipping occur every day across the Greater Manchester areas, costing councils nearly £4.9 million in clearance and enforcement, according to a new report.

Research commissioned by Manchester-based start-up Dsposal and supported by GC Business Growth Hub has been released in a report named ‘Tip of the binberg: Exploring the full cost of waste crime in Greater Manchester’.

The research reveals there were nearly 53,000 separate incidents of fly-tipping reported by the local authorities in the ten boroughs in 2016/17, equating to 144 incidents per day. The research also calculated that on top of the nearly £4.9 million it costs the councils for clearance and enforcement, a further £750,000 is lost because the fly-tipped material can’t be recycled.

Researchers Beasley Associates and RGR who carried out the study claim it sheds light on not just the full cost of waste crime but also the public’s understanding of their responsibilities to their rubbish.

As well as analysing the data from local authorities, the researchers scanned the classified ads in Greater Manchester local newspapers for rubbish clearance services, finding that of the 34 different adverts identified, only four had licences that matched the details given in their adverts. It is estimated that around £3 million a year was paid to unlicensed operators through primarily cash-based transactions.

While there are campaigns that remind residents that they need to check that the waste clearance services they use are properly licensed, the new research reveals that it is not always easy for residents to comply, with many also often unaware of their legal responsibilities.

An online survey carried out by YouGov of 501 adults in Greater Manchester on behalf of Dsposal found that 49 per cent were completely unaware that rubbish clearance services were legally required to possess a waste carrier’s licence, while 65 per cent of those aged 18-34 were unaware of the need for a licence. 78 per cent of respondents were unaware that they should receive a Waste Transfer Note as a receipt for rubbish cleared and only 44 per cent realised that they could be fined, as well as the clearance service, if their waste was found having been fly-tipped.

Commenting on the research, Sophie Walker, Co-Founder of Dsposal, said: “This research highlights the public’s confusion around waste duty of care and while it’s right that the responsibility rests with them to carry out the necessary checks we believe it should be easy for an individual to determine if a service has the correct licences.”

“Though there has been good progress made by some campaigns in some areas, the lack of understanding revealed by this study shows there’s still a lot of work to be done to raise public awareness and put an end to waste crime.”

Tom Passmore, Co-Founder of Dsposal, added: “Lack of awareness means the general public can easily be taken advantage of by those wishing to make a quick buck. Online ads on platforms like Facebook and Gumtree make it even easier for an illegal operator to get hold of your waste.”

The costs of fly-tipping are well-publicised within the waste sector, with local authorities spending £49.8 million clearing illegally dumped waste in 2015/16, with waste crime as a whole costing the waste industry and taxpayer around £600 million a year.

The government and trade associations have been keen to tackle the issue, with the Environment Agency and the waste management trade association the Environmental Services Association announcing in July 2017 that they would be taking steps to raise standards of operation within the sector and fight waste crime, with the new powers announced in January. The government also announced it would be launching a review into organised waste crime and how to combat it back in June.

You can read the full report – ‘Tip of the binberg: Exploring the full cost of waste crime in Greater Manchester’ – on the Dsposal website.

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