Fly-tipping, which already costs local councils over £100m a year, is only set to get worse if action is not taken, according to the Countryside Alliance (CA).

Nearly 2.5 million incidents of illegal fly-tipping took place in year up until April 2006, the CA has learned, which cost over £100m to pick up, but resulted in only 100 prosecutions.

Details revealed by the Freedom of Information Act include the facts that there is an incident of fly-tipping every twelve seconds in the UK, and these crimes cost the public £72 a minute.

The CA’s Chief Executive, Simon Hart, said: ‘Many people believe that fly-tipping is something they can get away with and that the victim is faceless. This is nonsense.

‘If you fly-tip on private land the owner gets the stress of clearing it up, and the bill: if you fly-tip on public land the taxpayer gets the bill; and in both instances people are ruining the beauty of the countryside for everyone.’

This cost is only likely to increase: this week’s Budget is thought not to include a specific rubbish tax, but the Chancellor seems likely to leave councils the power to charge extra for picking up rubbish on a local level, in addition to Council Tax. Concerns are that this will only lead to an increase in fly-tipping by people who don’t want to absorb the extra cost.

An opinion survey for the CA also found fly-tipping to be high on the list of concerns for rural dwellers. The group says it will launch a campaign next month to raise awareness of this growing problem.

‘We hope to generate a healthy sense of outrage across the UK because only then can we finally scrap fly-tipping,’ Mr Hart continued.