The NFU says it hopes the launch of a new national waste unit will help fight the scourge of fly-tipping. It is calling for tougher penalties for offenders.
Latest fly-tipping statistics show that for the year 2018/19, local authorities in England dealt with just over one million incidents – an increase of eight per cent from the 998,000 incidents reported in 2017/18.
“These new figures highlight a situation that continues to spiral out of control – now affecting two-thirds of all farmers with potentially a large number of unrecorded incidents taking place on private land,” said NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts.
“It’s a nightmare for our members being bombarded with rubbish that’s illegally dumped – costly and time-consuming to remove, dangerous to human health, harmful to wildlife and livestock and, in some cases, fly-tipped waste pollutes watercourses and contaminates land.
“Many do all they can to prevent fly-tippers, such as installing gates, barriers, warning signs, security cameras and lighting. However, in many cases we have found that deterrents do not work. In some cases, farmers also experience intimidation, violence and threats on their doorstep from criminal gangs.”
Mr Roberts added: “We need tougher penalties for those who carry out this crime. It’s not widely known that 95 per cent of fines for fly-tipping are lower than the cost of hiring a skip. What we need are punitive, exemplary fines to ensure the people who are fly-tipping don’t see fines as an irrelevance.
“We are pleased that the Environment Agency will set up the Joint Unit on Waste Crime next month, involving police and HMRC. But it’s imperative that farmers and landowners are involved at every stage as they are the ones at the sharp end.
“By working together, we can tackle this continual blight on our countryside and allow farmers to concentrate on what they do best, producing safe, traceable and affordable food for us to enjoy.”