Furniture and mattress manufacturers must contribute to the multi-million-pound clear-up and investigation of fly-tipping, say the Local Government Association(LGA). Councils are warning that the nation’s beauty spots and loveliest villages are increasingly being “scarred and disfigured”. The problem is an urban one too – with furniture, mattresses and other household goods a common site scattered on our streets.
The LGA, representing over 370 councils in England and Wales, wants more manufacturers and retailers of bulky items to voluntarily provide ‘take back’ services – where people can hand in their old mattresses and furniture when they buy new items. They are also urging firms to contribute to the clear-up costs – as councils have to fork out almost £50 million annually. With enforcement against fly-tippers costing local authorities nearly £20 million a year, councils also want to be able to recover all their prosecution costs after they take the tippers to court.
The LGA say the mammoth scale of the problem is fuelled by people changing homes more frequently and low prices of household consumer goods. There is, they say, more than one incident every minute. Mattresses are a particular problem. They are notoriously difficult and expensive to recycle and most end up in landfill sites – adding to the pressure on landfill costing taxpayer money. This call from the LGA is part of a submission to the Government about tackling waste crime.
LGA environment spokesman Cllr Peter Box said: “Fly-tipping is at a record level and increasingly the countries’ loveliest beauty spots and villages are being scarred and disfigured. This blight on our most beautiful countryside, towns and cities is costing councils a fortune when they have already seen significant budget reductions. Mattresses and furniture are some of the most fly-tipped items and in these unprecedented circumstances it is only fair that the manufacturers do more to help.
It is extremely difficult and costly to recycle mattresses, so most of them end up in landfill sites, which are already under severe pressure. Manufacturers should show leadership on this issue and provide more ‘bring back’ services and contribute towards the cost of councils’ clear-ups, on a voluntary basis.”