Fly tipping soars by 200% in just four years in Ipswich – but only three prosecutions last year

Fly tipping in a field off Henley Road, Ipswich.

Fly tipping in a field off Henley Road, Ipswich.

Fly tipping has surged by almost 200% in just four years in Ipswich – but only three people were taken to court last year, the Star can reveal.

A total of 739 incidents of rubbish being illegally dumped in the town’s streets or fields were reported in 2015/16, up from 247 in 2011/12.

The top offenders last year were Rendlesham Road (18 reports), Norwich Road (17), Gibbons Street and Upper Brook Street (both 10) and Bramford Road, Dogs Head Street and Felixstowe Road (nine).

Council chiefs say the vast majority of cases were ‘side waste’ on streets and insist better ways of reporting fly tipping, such as on social media, has boosted reports.

But they confirmed that only three people were prosecuted in 2015/16. Previous conviction rates were not available.

An Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) spokesman said: “It can sometimes be difficult for councils to obtain the necessary evidence to either prosecute or to hand out penalty notices but our position is clear: if we can, we will take action, and you will pay the penalty,”

“Fly-tipping is completely unacceptable. That there is no hiding place for offenders is just one benefit from using the courts to prosecute.”

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Out of the 739 incidents last year, 278 were ‘not actionable’ or ‘not substantiated’ (38%). Five people were referred for prosecution, the Freedom of Information figures showed.

Fifty-two informal letters, verbal or written warnings were also issued.

The government introduced new legislation earlier this year to give councils the power to impose fines ranging from £150 to £400 to fly tippers. IBC has yet to make a decision about adopting the fixed penalty notice scheme.

The average cost of dealing with fly tipping is around £230.

Environment minister Rory Stewart said: “It’s beyond me that anyone feels it’s acceptable to simply dump their waste by the road.”

A Defra spokesman added: “Fly-tipping is a selfish act that blights communities, poses a health risk and leads to significant clean-up costs for local councils.”