Did you know that flip tipping – the dumping of waste in the country side – has another name?

To help draw attention to the impact of this action, local governments like South Cambridgeshire District Council have renamed it to Enviro-crime! This rebranding has happened to highlight the fact that the casual dumping of waste, instead of using proper disposal services, is both a crime and harmful to the environment, rather than being a harmless eyesore.

According to the Local Goverment Association (LGA) “Local authorities dealt with a total of nine thousand incidents of fly tipping in 2014/15”, and at that time estimates from the Department of Enviroment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) were that councils spent £50 million per year on cleaning it up. This shouldn’t happen, but it does as people do not want to pay for proper disposal, or can’t be bothered, and so dump harmful chemicals or rubbish in public when they should take it to a dump. This then affects the surrounding area as it can leak into streams, hurt animals, or potentially contaminate water supplies.

As the cost-of-living increases, it means that councils are trying to reduce costs by restricting access to recycling centres. In towns such as Royston, Herts, where the local council voted to ban cross-county use of the tip in March 2023, residents in neighbouring Cambridgeshire now have to drive to other locations. This causes an increase in their disposal costs and their carbon footprint. This may, in turn, lead to more fly tipping.

The other day I came across two separate cases of fly tipping north of Cambourne, Cambridgeshire while out on a run. One was a mixture of plastic water barrels, tree clippings, and documents. The other was a pile of old furniture, couch cushions, and armchairs. This will need to be cleaned up, and because of that it will cost extra.