Fly tipping... A countryside epidemic

15 August 2017

In 2015/2016, local authorities dealt with over 936,000 fly tipping incidents, according to DEFRA, which is a 4% increase over the year before. The cost of clearance was over £49.8 million but this doesn’t take into account the costs and nuisance caused to the local landowners, primarily farmers.

Fly tipping is illegal under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and carries the risk of fines and potential imprisonment for those prosecuted. However, for most landowners this is a distant concern and doesn’t help stop the unwelcome arrival of tyres on a farm track in the early hours.

Local authorities are responsible for clearing small scale incidents on public land, however if you are a private landowner and are a victim of fly tipping, unfortunately it is your responsibility to dispose of the waste safely and also pay any cost of doing so. It is important to report the incident to your local authority or the Environment Agency. Even though they have no obligation to assist in removing the waste, they may assist or at least offer guidance in the best way to do so.
It is important to note, that the local authority and Environment Agency have powers to enter onto private land and clear fly tipped waste and seek to recover the costs of doing so from the landowner. It isn’t an issue that will go away if you leave it long enough.
How can you help prevent fly tipping?

  • Think about why your farm or property has been targeted. Is there easy access, quiet roads or lack of lighting? Are there any simple steps you could take to make your land less vulnerable?
  • If you see any unusual vehicles using quiet lanes frequently, try to take note of any make, model or registration plate.
  • Consider installing CCTV equipment at your premises. However, make sure that you have a sign stating that CCTV is in use.
  • Make sure you report any incidents. If the authorities are aware, they can undertake a full investigation.

For further advice, please contact a member of our agriculture team.


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