FLY-TIPPERS ARE striking 13 times a day in Shropshire – costing taxpayers about £400,000 a year in clear ups, according to new figures.
Research by the Countryside Alliance has uncovered the enormous scale of illegal fly-tipping across the country, with more than 4,800 separate incidents in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin in 2010/11.
The figures show there were a total of 3,565 incidents in the Telford & Wrekin Council area last year, which cost £183,000 to clear up.
The authority also racked up a bill of £83,000 for the cost of 2,512 separate enforcement actions.
In the Shropshire Council area there were a total of 1,270 incidents in 2010/11 costing £54,187 to clear up and dispose of.
Officials at the authority have not disclosed how much it cost to carry out enforcement action but say fly-tipping costs the authority between £100,000 and £150,000 a year to deal with.
According to the data, the two councils received just £1,000 back in fines through action taken against fly-tippers.
Tim Sneddon, head of environmental maintenance at Shropshire Council, said: "We always respond to reports of fly-tipping as quickly as possible. Our service target is to remove them within 48 hours. However, most are cleared on the same day they are reported."
Councillor Hilda Rhodes, cabinet member at Telford & Wrekin Council, said: "Although fly-tipping in the borough has reduced considerably over the past five years, it is estimated that fly-tipping still costs the borough about £250,000 a year."
Both said the councils will prosecute when they can.
Nationally, the total cost to local authorities of clearing up and enforcing legal and punitive actions after fly-tipping was more than £40 million. Yet only £692,000 was collected in fines – less than two per cent of the money spent.
Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "Fly-tipping blights our countryside, ruining the beautiful views for which Britain is rightly famous, endangering wild-life and habitats and costing the taxpayer millions of pounds to clear up."
By Russell Roberts