Local councils have spent over £10 million clearing illegally dumped waste over the past year due to a huge increase in fly-tipping incidents. This trend has a negative impact on the environment, public health, and wildlife, as contaminated waste can pollute local food and water sources and cause diseases to spread.
AFTA (Anti Fly-Tipping Association) was established by experienced waste industry professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the root causes of waste crimes, such as fly-tipping. They have dealt with thousands of fly-tipping incidents over the years and are aware of the challenges faced by local authorities in prosecuting offenders. AFTA’s goal is to raise awareness among the general public of the social and environmental problems caused by fly-tipping within the community and to discourage the use of rogue operators who profit from and bring the industry into disrepute.
Fly-tipping has become a pervasive problem in the UK, with one in eight UK residents admitting to participating in this activity, according to a recent survey conducted by Furniture and Choice. In 2021-22, local authorities in England reported over a million fly-tipping incidents.
AFTA members are made up of bona fide operators exasperated with the relatively low penalties that make fly-tipping a low-risk and high-reward crime, along with the current failings within the waste carrier registration system, as anyone can obtain a license by completing an online form and paying a fee. This system makes it easy for convicted criminals to obtain licenses and appear legitimate, even if they have a history of waste crime offenses.
AFTA calls for a reform of the waste licensing application system to make it more stringent and to discourage individuals and businesses from engaging in fly-tipping. The Environmental Services Association (ESA) also acknowledges the flaws in the waste carriers’ registration system, with ESA head of regulation Sam Corp stating that “regulating against this behaviour and prosecuting offenders is challenging.”
To address the shortcomings of the waste carriers’ registration system, AFTA requires its members to comply with a strict members’ charter, which includes allowing AFTA to make unannounced requests for waste disposal receipts to verify that members dispose of waste legally. This approach adds an extra layer of protection against the flaws in the waste carriers’ registration system. Any member who fails to comply with the members’ charter or to produce waste disposal receipts will be immediately expelled from the association.
According to AFTA spokesperson Dylan Graham, the association’s primary objective is to raise public awareness about the harmful social and environmental consequences of fly-tipping within communities. AFTA seeks to discourage households from using the services of unscrupulous individuals who offer low-cost waste removal services, often without disclosing where the waste is going. These cash-in-hand operators not only damage the reputation of legitimate waste management businesses but also profit from their illegal activities.