Rural home and business owners are continuing to foot the bill for illegal fly-tipping as the number of cases rose for the third year in a row.
The latest Defra figures highlighted a 4 per cent increase on the year before, with 936,000 fly-tip incidents and an estimated clearance cost of £49.8 million.
Action against culprits has, however, fallen 4 per cent.
Gareth Lloyd-Jones, managing director at waste disposal expert HIPPO, said the cost of recycling had ‘reached the ceiling’ and feared the fly-tip endemic had not yet reached its peak.
"There has been a lot of noise that councils are looking to introduce charges to local tips and it is likely the 30 per cent that already do will soon hit 100 per cent,” he said.
"The reality is, once the genie is out of the bottle you are never going to get it back in.”
More than two-thirds of all incidents in 2015/16 involved household waste, an increase of 6.5 per cent on the previous year. Costs currently circulate at about £84 per tonne to put waste into landfill.
Mr Lloyd-Jones said farmers and waste operators must work in union but warned the ‘economic pressures’ of the waste industry could encourage more to fly-tip.
He said: “If we look at the subject matter it is likely those who never looked to fly-tip before may look at the charges and may now be tempted,” he added.
In defence of the charges, Mr Lloyd-Jones said the tips would not be profiteering but rather ‘reflecting the true cost’ of dealing with waste.
CLA president Ross Murray argued the ‘beautiful countryside’ had been blighted by ‘this disgraceful behaviour’ and labelled it a ‘worrying trend’.
“Farmers and landowners are forced to clear up somebody else’s rubbish or they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste. This is simply not right or fair.”