Fly-tippers are increasingly targeting rural areas amid warnings from councils of a “fly-tipping farm-aggedon” after new figures showed a surge in incidents where rubbish is being dumped on farm land and blighting the countryside.

Figures obtained by the District Councils Network has found that in the past seven years, the number of fly-tipping incidents on agricultural spots has increased by two thirds – from 888 in 2012/13 to 1,473 in 2018/19.

While the majority of fly-tips seen by district councils takes place on public highways, council land, footpaths and alleyways, the DCN is warning that farm land is a growing target for fly-tippers.

District councils, which are responsible for clearing up fly-tipping, recorded more than 200,000 fly-tips last year (2018/19) and issued £220,000 in fines, which fell short of the £250,000 prosecution costs.

Amongst the different types of waste fly-tipped, districts are seeing a big spike in white goods being dumped, with a tripling from 3,928 incidents in 2012/13 to 12,319 in 2018/19.

The DCN, which represents 191 district councils, is calling on the new Government to ensure districts have the funding and flexibilities to manage waste locally and crack down on fly-tipping.

Currently, districts are taking on average nearly 300 separate actions every day to tackle fly-tipping, but could do much more if they have the right funding.

The DCN is also calling for sentencing guidelines to be reviewed so offenders are punished with heavier fines for the more serious fly-tips. This would serve as a deterrent to would-be fly-tippers.

Cllr Dan Humphreys, the DCN’s Lead Member for Enhancing Quality of Life said:

“Fly-tipping is the scourge of our communities. Not only does this eyesore ruin local areas, damage the environment and cause misery for residents, but it also creates a public health risk.

“However as our findings show, what is now becoming increasingly apparent, is how criminal fly-tippers are turning their attentions to targeting agricultural areas, blighting our idyllic countryside.

“Districts, which are responsible for clearing up fly-tipping, are doing all they can to fight fly-tippers, and have taken action over 600,000 times in the past five years.

“To help districts continue waging war on fly-tipping, the new Government needs to make sure districts have the funding and flexibilities to ensure waste is well managed locally, and for sentencing guidelines to be reviewed so courts issue bigger fines for the more serious offences.”


The District Councils’ Network (DCN) is a cross-party member led network providing a single voice to 191 district councils. District councils in England deliver 86 out of 137 essential local government services to over 22 million people – 40 per cent of the population – and cover 68 per cent of the country by area. They play a key role in local communities, providing services such as building homes, collecting waste, regenerating town centres, preventing homelessness, keeping streets clean and maintaining parks.