FLY-TIPPED waste was discovered thousands of times in Northumberland last year, new figures show.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy said the high level of fly-tipping seen across England is a "tragedy" to the environment and to communities.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures reveal there were 4,704 fly-tipping incidents in Northumberland in the year to March 2022 – though this was down from 5,036 the year before.

A significant amount of fly-tipping in the area last year was discovered on back alleyways (53 per cent) and on council land (19 per cent).

Of the discarded waste, the largest proportion was household waste (62 per cent) followed by white goods (8 per cent).

The data also shows £18,285 was paid by councils on removing large incidents of fly-tipping in Northumberland.

Across England, 1.09 million fly-tipping incidents were recorded in 2021-22– a decrease of 4 per cent from the 1.14 million reported in 2020-21. The cost of clearance to local authorities was £10.7 million last year.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Keep Britain Tidy chief executive, said: "A million plus fly-tipping incidents is a tragedy for the environment and communities and illustrates just how little people understand about the impact their unwanted ‘stuff’ can have."

Ms Ogden-Newton added there must be a concerted effort to educate the public about their role in solving the problem.

"We need immediate and tough enforcement that targets the rogue traders who are making a fortune by breaking the law, raking in the cash and wrecking our environment," she added.

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In Northumberland, 66 fixed penalty notices were issued last year, up from 60 in 2020-21. And seven fines were issued by courts in the year to March – a rise from none the year prior. The total value of fines was £4,136.

David Renard, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said fly-tipping is not just an eyesore for residents, but a serious environmental and public health risk.

Mr Renard added: "Councils are working tirelessly to counter the thousands of incidents every year and are determined to crack down on the problem, so it is good to see that the number of enforcement actions has increased.

"However, penalties handed down from prosecution fail to match the severity of the offence committed. We continue to urge the Government to review sentencing guidelines for fly-tipping so that offenders are given bigger fines for more serious offences to act as a deterrent."