THERE were 48,966 fly tipping incidents in the North-East last year, costing the taxpayer £3.3m.

And in Yorkshire and Humberside the total was 69,758, costing £4.9m ¬– although rates of illegal waste dumping in the North Yorkshire area were among the lowest in the country.

The region had a problem with fly tipping in its back lanes and alleyways, with Darlington having the highest rate at 1,715 incidents last year – almost five each day.

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  • Redcar and Cleveland’s back lanes saw 1,295 incidents in its back lanes last year.
  • County Durham was the illegal dumping capital in The Northern Echo area, with 7,786 incidents last year, costing £486,905.
  • It was followed by Darlington with 2,286 occurrences, costing £232,058.
  • 2,825 in Redcar and Cleveland, 2,687 in Middlesbrough and Stockton followed with 2,698.
  • Hartlepool saw 1,730 and York 1,518 incidents.
  • In the Hambleton area there were just 293 incidents – still almost one a day – and Richmondshire and Ryedale had among the lowest fly-tipping rates in the country with 131 and 135 respectively.
  • County Durham had one of the highest rates in the country for illegal waste dumping on farmland, with 417 cases last year.

Across England as a whole, there were more than a million cases of fly-tipping were reported by councils last year, a rise for the fourth year in a row.

Fly-tipping incidents ranged from dumping bags of household waste, fridges and other white goods to construction rubble, tyres, asbestos and even animal carcasses.

Around two thirds (67%) of fly-tipping cases were household rubbish, the figures reveal.

Clearing up fly-tipped waste cost councils nearly £57.7 million last year, while they carried out 474,000 enforcement actions, costing around £16 million.

A spokesman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: "Fly-tipping is an unacceptable blight on our landscape, which is why we have cracked down on offenders by strengthening sentencing guidelines and giving councils the powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers.

"We have made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized and will continue to work with local partners to stop this inexcusable crime."

The latest figures come after the Government gave councils new powers to issue "on-the-spot" fixed penalty notices of £150 to £400 for small-scale fly-tipping in May 2016.

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) president Ross Murray said the figures, which do not include rubbish dumped on private land that landowners had to clear up, showed "fly-tipping is just getting worse and worse".

"Greater penalties should be imposed and enforced, including seizing fly-tippers' vehicles, and victims should be better supported,” he said.

"We are calling for the appointment of a national fly-tipping tsar to co-ordinate and oversee a more proactive effort to get to grips with this national disgrace."

Councillor Martin Lett, the Local Government Association’s environment spokesman, said: “Litter and fly tipping is environmental vandalism.

“Not only does it create an eyesore for residents, it is also a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.”

He said the £57m a year councils spend cleaning up could be spend on other services, like caring for the elderly, protecting children or tackling homelessness.