Private landowners push for more deterrents in fight against fly-tipping

Date published: 27 November 2018

Private landowners have warned that fines for householders who pass their waste to a rogue ‘man and van’ for disposal are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in the fight to deter fly-tippers.

The Government has brought forward the legislation required to introduce new financial penalties of up to £400 for householders who fail to ensure their waste is not fly-tipped by unauthorised waste carriers through a legal Duty of Care.

The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses supports the fines but says more resources must go into enforcement to crack down on industrial size fly-tipping which is blighting the countryside.

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “It is easy to blame householders for the significant rise in fly-tipping but we’re seeing more and more waste on an industrial-size scale dumped across the countryside. Part of the problem is council fees putting people off lawful disposal at the local tip but it is also businesses not complying with existing waste disposal regulations. The costs and process of getting a waste transfer licence prevents legal disposal and encourages organised crime.

“Introducing a fixed penalty notice for householders who pass their waste on to unauthorised waste carriers is a welcome deterrent towards reducing this anti-social behaviour but it is just the tip of the iceberg. To really tackle the crime, raising awareness of the risks of being caught and increasing the number of meaningful prosecutions are the right methods that will bring about real change to encourage people to do the right thing and dispose of their rubbish through proper legal channels.

“Without better understanding from the public and the right legal deterrents in place, fly-tipping will continue to increase exponentially and further blight the countryside.”

CLA Director North Dorothy Fairburn said: “The estimated average cost to rural businesses of this anti-social behaviour is £800 per incident and is a continuing and damaging blight on our countryside. In addition, landowners are liable for any waste that is fly-tipped on their land and can be prosecuted if they do not clear it away, often at considerable cost to their business.

“We want a more effective legal system to deal with offenders more robustly, and urge councils to exercise their powers in prosecuting fly tippers. The maximum fine is £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates' Court, but this is never enforced. If it was, it might deter fly-tippers. Frequently, it costs more to bring an offender to court than the penalty actually imposed.”

The CLA has called on local authorities, the Environment Agency and the police force to commit to stronger action against the increase of fly-tipping on private land by:

  • extending the local government zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping over the festive period into a year-round initiative,
  • ensuring powers to issue fixed penalty notices and/or seize vehicles are used,
  • imposing and enforcing stronger penalties to act as a deterrent,
  • investing time and resources tracking down the culprits, and
  • reducing council fees to legally dispose of waste.

The CLA says farmers and landowners can go some way to preventing fly-tipped waste on their land by ensuring gates to fields are locked, opening up concealed entrances so they more visible to passersby, using CCTV in black spots and reporting all instances to the local police force.

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