Fly-tipping is on the rise with farmers increasingly being burdened with costs of up to £1,200 to clear the mess, a new report reveals.
A study by the NFU, released to coincide with a DEFRA fly-tipping summit today (26 July), counted 168 incidents this year – an increase of 45%.
Clearance costs members anything up to £1,200 – with an average of £170 where costs were reported.
Household waste represents over half of what is tipped and the NFU says data suggests there may be a growing trend in opportunistic fly-tipping, possibly as a result of increased fees at licensed sites, or changes to their opening hours.
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 today’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.”
The NFU would prefer to see a change in legislation to remove the legal responsibility for landowners to deal with fly-tipping on their land.
However, it is recognised that in the current economic and political climate, a change in legislation isn’t seen as the solution for government as it would place the full cost burden on local authorities.