Thousands of piles of illegally dumped rubbish blighted Bucks countryside last year alone – prompting landowners and businesses to call for action to tackle fly-tipping.
Wycombe was the worst-affected district after it was hit by a staggering 928 fly-tips in 2017/18, while 433 were reported in Chiltern, with a further 698 in South Bucks.
Research published by the CLA – an organisation of land and business owners – found almost one million cases of illegally dumped waste were reported to local authorities across the country during the last financial year.
Out of the 2,059 incidents across the three districts in south Bucks, just 1,402 resulted in some form of investigation.
CLA South East, which represents landowners in Bucks, warned the actual number of fly-tipping cases is likely to be “considerably higher” than the reported figures – and called for more action to be taken to prosecute the perpetrators.
Regional director, Robin Edwards, said: “The reality is that overall, the true figures are considerably higher than these latest official statistics, as many incidents go unrecorded and unreported.
“Private landowners are liable for any waste dumped on their land and are fed up of having to clear up other people’s mess, and paying for the privilege.
“It is vital that more prosecutions are brought forward successfully to encourage people to do the right thing and dispose of their rubbish through proper legal channels.
“Councils must send a clear message to fly-tippers that they will face financial consequences.
“But to really combat this crime against the countryside we need to see tougher penalties which act as a true deterrent.
“Imposing and enforcing stiffer penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime is crucial, along with seizing the vehicles used to fly-tip.”
A spokesman for the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire – which is made up of the county council and four districts – says the partnership’s prosecution rates are “16 times the national level”.
The councils have also launched anti-fly-tipping campaign SCRAP which aims to encourage people to dispose of their waste appropriately.
A spokesman from the partnership said: “Since November 2003, the Waste Partnership has secured over 660 convictions.
“Although successful prosecutions mean that the Partnership receives costs imposed by the court to offset the expense of removal and disposal of fly tipped waste, around £750,000 of council taxpayers’ money still has to be spent in Buckinghamshire each year on the clear-up of illegal waste from public land together with the enforcement of waste law.
“The partnership launched its S.C.R.A.P. Fly-tipping campaign in August 2018, which urges anyone- individuals or businesses- to ensure that they act on their legal duty of care to ensure that anyone who takes their waste away is registered and bona fide.”
Report fly-tipping at www.fixmystreet.buckscc.gov.uk