Wokingham has been ranked one of the worst places in Berkshire for fly-tipping, according to new figures.

Newly-released figures from Defra show that there were more than a million incidents of fly-tipping on public land in the last year – and more than 100,000 in the South East alone.

The data is based on incidents and actions reported by local authorities through WasteDataFlow.

For the 2022/23 year, local authorities in England dealt with 1.08 million fly-tipping incidents, a decrease of 1 per cent from the 1.09 million reported in 2021/22.

Representing around 27,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) believes these figures only tell a fraction of the story.

Fly-tipping is the illegal practice of leaving liquid or solid waste on land or in water.

Wokingham was ranked as the worst in Berkshire with 1,691 reported incidents in 2022/23, a decrease of 6.5% from the 1,808 reported in 2021/22.

Reading ranked the second worst area with 1,361 flytipping incidents, compared to 1,453 in 2021/22.

The rest of the figures:

Slough: 1,674 incidents in 2021/22, 1,258 in 2022/23 

Windsor and Maidenhead: 1,527 incidents 2021/22, 1,249 in 2022/23

West Berkshire: 1,011 incidents in 2021/22, 1,009 in 2022/23

Bracknell Forest: 558 incidents in 2021/22, 542 in 2022/23

Many fly-tipping incidents occur on privately-owned land, painting an even more damaging picture of the financial burden and environmental impact fly-tipping brings.

CLA South East represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight.

Colin Rayner, who farms in Berkshire, suffers fly-tipping on a weekly basis.

He said: “We feel we have been abandoned by the law makers and law enforcers.

"Fly-tipping is a very expensive, ugly plague on the countryside and landowners.”

Regional director Tim Bamford said: “These fly-tipping figures barely scratch the surface of a crime that’s blighting rural communities, with incidents on private land going unrecorded on a mass scale.

"Farmers and landowners bear the cost of removing rubbish and they pay on average £1,000 to remove waste. This is not a victimless crime - in some cases they have paid up to £100,000 to clear up other people’s mess or risk facing prosecution themselves.

“It’s not just litter blotting the landscape, but tonnes of household and commercial waste which can often be hazardous – even including asbestos and chemicals – endangering farmers, wildlife, livestock, crops and the environment.

“While courts can sentence offenders to prison or unlimited fines, prosecutions are rare and criminals clearly do not fear the system. We are calling for local authorities to help clear fly-tipping incidents on private as well as public land, while the various enforcement agencies must be properly trained and resourced.

“Without more progress farmers, not the criminals, will continue to pay the price.”