Flytipping has exploded since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, according to an application created to combat the illegal dumping of waste.
Millionaire businessman Martin Montague says his ClearWaste app is bombarded daily with hundreds of photographs across the UK.
He said, “In the first week of the lockout, we have seen a 54% increase nationally from the previous week’s figure. By Easter, the reported fly shipments had increased by 75%.
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“It is a horrible and disgusting practice because it puts people’s lives at risk. Not only have we seen blocked lanes and roads for emergency vehicles, but it also poses a risk to council staff or the farmers who have to clean them up.
“I understand why this is happening – people are at home with more time on their hands and they are doing more, building jobs, replacing fences, modifications, gardening and so on. And the sun is up.
“With most of the recycling centers closed, you have to hold on to these things until the lockdown ends, but a lot of people just aren’t ready to do it.” “
Mr. Montague created the app after being the victim of a theft scam, paying what he thought was an authorized operator to dispose of the waste he discovered later, simply dumped near his home in Hampshire.
Its application allows those who find flytip sites to take and download photos that its staff transmits to the competent council.
Household trash collections continued during the foreclosure, although more than a quarter of the councils have stopped collecting garden waste.
Mr. Montague showed me two recent flytips near his home, one a bunch of tree branches and old fences blocking a narrow country road and the other a larger discharge of concrete, metal and tires left at the edge of a wheat field.
The second pile included what looked like corrugated asbestos sheets, possibly an old garage roof, potentially dangerous and requiring specialized and costly removal by experts.
The government wants the waste recycling centers to remain open, but most have closed due to the difficulties in guaranteeing social distancing rules.
Local authorities say they are discussing with the Ministry of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) any possibility of reopening them.
Cllr David Renard, environmental spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said, “With the government, the LGA is exploring ways to re-open recycling centers on a limited basis, but until announcements are made, we must insist that people keep their garbage on the premises of the household. ”
Garbage dumped illegally on private land is the responsibility of the landowners who must bear the cost of its removal.
Sarah Lee, policy officer for the Countryside Alliance, said: “Flies are increasing especially for landowners and farmers, where people go out and put them in their fields.
“They have a double risk when they have the legal responsibility to dispose of the waste and the cost to them can be enormous.
“They don’t want to spend their time doing this when they’re too busy trying to feed the nation to take the trouble to eliminate the surges.”
Anyone caught with fly theft risks prosecution and up to five years in prison or a maximum fine of £ 50,000.
A Defra spokesperson said, “Flytipping destroys communities, spoils our campaigns and poses a risk to human health and the environment.
“We all have a role to play in keeping our environment clean and now more than ever, people must work together to support their communities during this difficult time. “