ILLEGAL dumping of waste is on the rise in Swindon, Government figures have revealed.

Statistics published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show the number of incidents of flytipping in 2008/9 reached 2,142 across the town - up 8% from the 1,972 recorded the previous year.

The rise in Swindon came despite a significant national fall in incidents year-on-year.

Richard Palacio, Swindon Council’s environmental enforcement manager, said the increased number of reports of flytipping was down to extra resources being deployed by the council to combat the problem.

And he warned of rogue traders who were offering to take away rubbish from properties for a low fee, but were dumping the trash in hedgerows.

The Defra figures showed the council took 3,009 “actions” – including cautions, penalty notices and warning letters – against suspected offenders in the financial year 2008/9.

But on only two occasions did the council obtain successful prosecutions.

Mr Palacio said the council had undertaken another six successful prosecutions for flytipping between April of this year and yesterday.

He said flytipped rubbish could lead to contamination in streets and river systems and could impact on the perception of crime in areas.

Mr Palacio added he wanted to confront the people dumping rubbish on the street, and continued: “Ultimately it is laziness. Without a doubt they are all aware that flytipping is wrong, but they cannot be bothered to take it to the tip or dispose of it correctly.

“I have no sympathy for them.”

Nationally, local authorities dealt with 1.16m flytipping incidents in England last year - down 9 per cent on the previous year's 1.28m.

Defra said 63% of all last year's flytips involved household waste, while half occurred on highways. Local authorities forked out an estimated £54.9million to clear the illegally dumped waste, and made 2,000 prosecutions.

Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said: “Fly-tipping is unacceptable and a stain on our environment, which costs local authorities in England tens of millions of pounds each year that could be spent on local services. All waste can and should be disposed of responsibly.

“I am pleased to see a reduction of over 9 per cent in incidents, but 1.16m is still too many. It affects our lives wherever we live, and local authorities, Government and people need to play their part in stopping it.”

Defra said it would continue to work with the Environment Agency and local authorities to prevent illegal waste dumping through a combination of education, prevention and enforcement.