Time for tougher action on fly-tippers, says new CLA head

The new president of the Country, Land and Business Association (CLA) has written to Defra to demand more action to tackle fly-tipping on farms.

In his first political activity as CLA president, Tim Breitmeyer signalled his determination to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping on our farms, which results in high costs and huge stress for farmers and rural businesses.

See also: Revealed – the burden of fly-tipping on farms

In his letter sent to environment minister MP Thérèse Coffey on Friday (10 November), Mr Breitmeyer highlighted Farmers Weekly’s Stop the Blot fly-tipping campaign, which showed almost two-thirds of farmers are falling victim to fly-tipping on private land.

Fly tipping

Only one in 600 fly-tipping incidents on private land leads to a prosecution, says the CLA
© Tim Scrivener/REX/Shutterstock

“Unlike on public land, farmers and landowners often find local authorities refuse to get involved saying fly-tipping on private land is not their responsibility,” he said.

“Left with the time-consuming and expensive task of cleaning up the mess themselves, landowners can then fall victim a second time as the subject of a criminal prosecution for keeping the waste on their land.

“It cannot be right that landowners as the victims of a crime then become the criminals themselves.”

‘Suffering in silence’

Mr Breitmeyer wrote that landowners are “suffering in silence” and many have to clear the mess away, which costs £800 on average. Meanwhile, only one in 600 of reported fly-tipping incidents lead to a prosecution.

Large-scale incidents, however, are common: 39 separate incidents were reported by one CLA member alone in 2016.

In his letter, Mr Breitmeyer set out a list of measures his organisation would like the government and the Justices to consider to curb fly-tipping.

These include:

  • Impose and enforce penalties to better reflect the seriousness of the crime
  • Default penalty for offenders should be seizure of vehicle involved
  • Fines for homes and businesses whose waste is found in fly-tipped locations
  • Appoint a fly-tipping tsar to promote working in partnership.

See also: Lowland farmers face biggest Brexit challenges, says new CLA president

Finally, Mr Breitmeyer urged Dr Coffey to consider these proposals favourably to help to tackle fly-tipping across the countryside.

During a recent Q&A session in parliament on fly-tipping, Dr Coffey admitted that the authorities must work with farmers to increase intelligence and target persistent dumpers and “use the full force of the law to deter such behaviour”.

Dr Coffey also said she would speak to a justice minister about possible changes to sentencing guidelines.

Stop the Blot

Fly-tippers are ruining our countryside and clean-up costs are crippling farm businesses. That’s why we have launched our Stop the Blot campaign to help raise awareness of the damage caused by fly-tipping and tackle the growing epidemic on farms.

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