Government

NFU says fly-tipping has increased by 45 per cent since June 2011.

fly tipping

New figures released by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) show that fly-tipping on private land has increased by 45 per cent since June 2011.

The figures, which were released in the ‘NFU Fly-Tip Recording Report Y2’ to coincide with Defra’s fly-tipping summit on 26 July, counter the government’s statistics that show fly-tipping on public land to be on the decrease. The NFU state that there could be a growing trend in opportunistic fly-tipping, possibly as a result of increased fees at licensed sites, or changes to their opening hours.

Between June 2011 and May 2012, 168 incidents of fly-tipping were reported on private land (45 per cent higher than the year before), costing farmers as much as £1,200 to clear up each incident. Over half of the waste dumped was found to be household waste.

NFU environment policy adviser Nicola Dunn said: “Our members rightly feel they are the victims of this growing trend in fly-tipping, which costs them both time and money. It is incredibly unfair that the responsibility of clearing up after those who are flouting the law lies solely with landowners.

“We hope this report and [Friday’s] summit will start the ball rolling in ensuring our members, and other private landowners, get a fair deal. If they do have to clean up after those who have no respect for the countryside whatsoever, there should be a support mechanism in place so that they can deal with the problem with minimal disruption and cost. We aren’t asking for much but now is the time to act.”

At the summit, NFU put forward recommendations to change legislation that included:

1.    Landowners who clear tips and transport the waste to a local authority disposal site should be provided with a free of charge disposal for the fly-tipped waste;

2.    Local authorities should recognise that their own waste policies can have an impact on the amount of fly-tipping in a local area, so they should be part of the solution too – regardless of whether the land is private or public;

3.    The FlyCapture database to be used to record fly-tipping incidents, including those on private land. The data would be used to monitor progress, assess trends and investigate the impact of waste policies.

Speaking ahead of the summit last week, ESA’s Director General, Barry Dennis commented: “I am pleased to be attending Thursday’s summit, but I don’t think that the sheer scale of the fly-tipping that blights our communities is fully appreciated. About half a million tonnes of waste was illegally dumped last year - if this was piled up it would more than fill the Olympics Aquatics Centre - the second largest Olympic venue.

“There has been a real effort to clean up Britain for the Olympics but those who fly-tip are degrading the local environment day in-day out. The cost of clearing up fly-tipped waste is very substantial, pollution can result and legitimate waste companies lose business… The summit needs to emphasise a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping. A good start would be much higher fines for those caught - in 2010/2011 the majority of fines were between £51-£200 and this is just not enough.”

The fly-tipping report on private land can be found on the NFU website.