Thursday, December 14, 2017

Time to get tough on fly-tipping, councils told

October 3, 2017 by  
Filed under News & Business

CLA Fly-Tipping 2

Local authorities across the East of England are being urged to get tough on fly-tipping – a crime that blights the countryside and costs farmers thousands of pounds to clear up.

The Country Land and Business Association, which represents thousands of the region’s landowners, farmers and rural businesses, is putting forward new proposals on how to tackle the scourge of illegally dumped waste.

The CLA is recommending the seizure of vehicles as a default penalty for fly-tipping. It is also calling for a raft of tougher punishments – as well as enforcing fines for home and business owners whose waste is found in fly-tipped locations.

Unfair system

Current rules mean farmers must pay for fly-tipped waste to be cleared from their land. Now CLA East has written to local authorities calling on councils to help develop new ways to clear up fly-tipping – and support victims so private landowners are not liable.

CLA member William Ashley became a fly-tipping victim when building and household waste was dumped in a lane. “Fly-tipping is a crime that is all too common and in our most recent incident we have had tyres, building waste and household rubbish shamelessly dumped in a lane overnight.

“Only when we see sufficient punishments actually enforced will there be a deterrent to stop people undertaking this disgraceful crime. Farmers, landowners and rural businesses are victims of the crime of fly-tipping and are then forced to pay to sort it out. How can that be a fair system?”

Alongside the letters, CLA East is also contacting police forces and Environment Agency officials across East Anglia. It is urging them to come together and adopt a coordinated, partnership approach to tackling the issue of fly-tipping.

Significant issue

Almost two thirds of farmers and landowners have been affected by fly-tipping, according to a recent survey supported by CLA Insurance. Over half of the respondents to the survey agreed it was a significant issue in their area.

Some 85% of farmers and landowners have taken measures to protect their land. These include 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 – often two or three times per month. Because private landowners are liable for the clean-up process, they are spending on average £844 per incident.

Defra figures published earlier this year show that only 129 vehicles were seized from 936,000 fly-tipping incidents nationally in 2015/2016. Similarly, only 77 fines of over £1,000 were imposed out despite 2,135 prosecutions.

Tougher penalties

CLA eastern region director Ben Underwood said: “Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime. Private landowners in the East of England 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 building waste dumped on farmland.”

Mr Underwood added: “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 a co-ordinated and collective effort can we push back against this scourge that is damaging our countryside and rural economy.”

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