New proposals on how to deal with fly-tipping have been put forward by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) over the Bank Holiday weekend – a time when there can be a surge of illegally dumped waste across rural Britain, it says.
The organisation, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has launched a five-point action plan that it believes should be adopted to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping blighting the countryside.
As well as seizing vehicles to act as a deterrent, the CLA recommends enforcing fines for home and business owners whose waste is found in fly-tipped locations and appointing a ‘Fly-Tipping Tsar’ to co-ordinate with national agencies on the scale of this organised crime.
The plan also proposes developing new ways to clear up and support victims so that private landowners are not liable as well as educating the public on this anti-social behaviour and working in partnership to help reduce waste crime through best practice.
“It’s not just the odd bin bag that is being fly-tipped but tonnes of hazardous waste, mattresses being set alight in woodland and even a dead horse dumped on private land because the perpetrators know they can get away with it.”
Results from a survey conducted by Farmers Weekly and CLA Insurance revealed that almost two thirds of farmers and landowners have been affected by fly-tipping and over half agree it is a significant issue in their area.
Some 85% have taken measures to protect their land such installing gates or barriers, padlocking entrances and using CCTV, but only 13% have insured their farm business against fly-tipping.
Most victims surveyed said they had been targeted on multiple occasions, around two to three times per month, and because private landowners are liable for the clean-up process they are spending on average £844 per incident.
Out of 936,000 fly-tipping incidents in 2015/2016 only 129 vehicles were seized, and out of 2,135 prosecutions only 77 fines of over £1,000 were imposed, according to figures published by Defra earlier this year.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime. Private landowners are fed up of clearing away other people’s rubbish and paying for the privilege. If they don’t act, they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste which is simply not fair.
“It’s not just the odd bin bag that is being fly-tipped but tonnes of hazardous waste, mattresses being set alight in woodland and even a dead horse dumped on private land because the perpetrators know they can get away with it.
“We need to see tougher penalties which act as a true deterrent. Seizing vehicles involved in fly-tipping and imposing and enforcing penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime is vital.
“Only through co-ordinated and collective effort can we push back against this scourge that is damaging our countryside and rural economy.”
George Winn-Darley owns Aldby Park country estate at Buttercrambe near Stamford Bridge in the north East Riding of Yorkshire which suffers from multiple incidents of fly-tipping each year.
In January, his team spent a total of 46 man hours removing two tractor trailer loads of fly-tipped waste along road verges at a total cost of around £800.
George said: “Judging by the marked increase in fly-tipping, fixed penalty notices are really ineffective. Local authorities need to crack down hard by increasing fines, seizing vehicles and even imprisonment. At the moment, it is more expensive for the victim to remove the fly-tipped waste than the fixed penalty notice as more than 80% of these are for £500 or less.
“My personal bug-bear is that of littering. It would be really great if high street fast food chains took responsibility for educating their customers on the appropriate ways in which to dispose of their rubbish.”