Fly-tipping cost taxpayers £40 million last year, with more than 75 incidents occurring every hour in England and Wales, according to new figures.
The statistics, obtained by the Countryside Alliance under Freedom of Information legislation, revealed that councils spent £40 million on clearing up and taking legal action for illegal rubbish dumping, but collected just £692,000 in fines in 2010/2011.
There were at least 656,000 fly-tipping incidents in the past year but just one in 50 cases led to a prosecution. In some cash-strapped rural local authority areas, the figure was just three prosecutions per 1,000 cases.
The results of the research, to which four-fifths of local councils responded, show a marked fall in the amount of fly-tipping blighting the countryside since a similar survey in 2006/2007 which revealed 2.5 million incidents at a cost of £100 million.
But the Countryside Alliance warned the problem of fly-tipping is likely to get worse due to rising taxes on sending rubbish to landfill, cuts to council budgets and a trend towards fortnightly collections that the Government has failed to arrest.
Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "Fly-tipping blights our countryside - ruining the beautiful views for which Britain is rightly famous, endangering wildlife and habitats, and costing the taxpayer millions of pounds to clear up.
"The coalition Government promised to end this scourge when they published the waste review this summer. This is a promising start. However, they need to work closer with cash-strapped local authorities to tackle this blight.
"By raising the landfill tax in the Budget and with more cuts coming to council budgets, this problem is only going to get worse."
A spokeswoman for the Environment Department said: "Fly-tipping is inexcusable - it's lazy, causes pollution, costs taxpayers millions of pounds a year to clear up and spoils people's enjoyment of our iconic countryside.
"We're cracking down on these irresponsible criminals by introducing appropriate powers to seize vehicles, and looking at other penalties, which might include offenders taking part in clean-ups."