Figures released by Defra last week (2 March) show incidents of reported waste dumped illegally have increased by 4% but action taken against the culprits has fallen by 4%.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, says the figures do not reflect the true scale of the crime because increasing reports of fly-tipping on private rural land are not included.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “These figures do not tell the full story of this disgraceful behaviour which blights our beautiful countryside. Local authorities tend not to get involved with clearing incidences of fly-tipped waste from private land leaving the landowner to clean up and foot the bill.
CLA President Ross Murray – “Only when people see evidence of local authorities taking stronger action to combat the scourge of fly-tipping can we hope to see a reversal in this worrying trend.”
“Our members have reported a big increase in fly-tipping on their land. It’s not just the odd bin bag but large household items from unwanted sofas to broken washing machines, building materials and even asbestos being dumped across our countryside.
“Farmers and landowners are forced to clear up somebody else’s rubbish or they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste. This is simply not right or fair.
“Only when people see evidence of local authorities taking stronger action to combat the scourge of fly-tipping can we hope to see a reversal in this worrying trend.”
The CLA has called on local authorities, the Environment Agency and the police force to commit to stronger action against the increase of fly-tipping on private land by:
- extending the local government zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping over the festive period into a year-round initiative,
- ensuring powers to issue fixed penalty notices and/or seize vehicles are used,
- imposing and enforcing stronger penalties to act as a deterrent,
- investing time and resources tracking down the culprits, and
- reducing council fees to legally dispose of waste.
The CLA says farmers and landowners can go some way to preventing fly-tipped waste on their land by ensuring gates to fields are locked, opening up concealed entrances so they more visible to passersby, using CCTV in black spots and reporting all instances to the local police force.