Friday, August 17, 2018

New powers to curb fly-tipping ‘not enough’

January 31, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

The government has unveiled new powers to tackle fly-tipping and plans to combat the dumping of illegal waste.

New powers will be granted for the Environment Agency to tackle waste crime, said Defra on Monday, 15 January. Meanwhile, a consultation will ask for views on proposals to crack-down on the fly-tipping of household waste.

Defra minister Therese Coffey made the announcement following the launch of the government’s 25-year plan for the environment. Ms Coffey said: “Waste crime and fly-tipping blight our communities and spoil our countryside, and we need determined action to tackle it.”

Lock gates

Waste crime cost the English economy more than £600m in 2015, including lost landfill tax revenues and clean-up bills, said Defra. The Environment Agency would be empowered to lock the gates or block access to problem waste sites to prevent the build-up of illegal waste.

Councils spent more than £4m cleaning up East Anglia in just 12 months – but the cost to farmers and landowners is also high. On a regional level, there were 75,447 reported fly-tipping incidents in East Anglia between April 2016 and March 2017 – a year-on-year increase of 9%.

The proposals also aim to stop criminals hiding illegal activities by requiring them to register low-risk waste operations which are currently exempt from permit requirements. People
will be able to check the agency website to see if the recipient of their waste is licensed to take their rubbish.

Ms Coffey said: “These new powers for the Environment Agency will curb the rise of waste sites that continue to operate outside the law. But we must all take responsibility for our waste to make sure it does not end up in the hands of criminals who will wilfully dump it.”

Illegal sites

The agency uncovered more than 850 new illegal waste sites in 2016-17. But fly-tipping continues to blight much of the region. Although two sites are shut down daily, many continue to create severe problems for local farmers and business.

Household waste makes up nearly two thirds of fly-tipped waste. Currently local authorities can only prosecute householders in court. Defra says a new fixed penalty notice would be less costly to enforce for councils.

More must be done, say farmers and landowners

“Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime. It affects almost two thirds of private landowners and blights the countryside. We are fed up of clearing away other people’s rubbish and paying for the privilege.

“Enforcing fines for home and business owners whose waste is found in fly-tipped locations is just one area our plan focused on, so we are pleased to see this form part of the government’s proposals to act as a deterrent and encourage waste disposal through legal channels.

“We would like to see alternatives explored to clear up and support victims so private landowners are not liable for waste dumped on their land. Only through co-ordinated and collective effort can we push back against this scourge that is damaging our countryside and rural economy.”

CLA President, Tim Breitmeyer

“Fly-tipping is increasingly scarring our beautiful countryside and new measures to tackle the problem are much-needed.

“This announcement is an important first step but there is still more that needs to be done. We now need to see targeted measures that will directly address fly-tipping on farmland. Farmers are the ones left to foot expensive bills to report, clean-up and dispose properly of waste.

“This cannot continue and the NFU has already laid out solutions to deal with this issue in its Rural Crime Report. For example, there needs to be a joined up approach between Government, landowners and police to prevent this act in the first place, and provide assistance to farmers clearing up rubbish when they fall victim to fly-tipping.

“There is also a clear need to raise awareness within households, businesses and organisations about their duty of care to deal with waste lawfully and to keep it out of the hands of criminals who blight our countryside.”

NFU Deputy President, Minette Batters

“Farmers who fall prey to this crime are having to shoulder the burden and meet the cost of clearing rubbish from their land themselves – at an average cost of £1,000 per incident. They are also liable if the dumped rubbish damages the countryside. 

“With many authorities looking at introducing charges for bulky waste and organic waste collections and charging for using council-run tips, there is a fear that flytipping incidents on farmland will increase.”

“Farmers are well aware of this issue and are saddened by the visual impact it has on the countryside they maintain, as well as it being a nuisance and inconvenience when trying to get on with their normal, daily jobs.”

William Nicholls, Lycetts

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