'Missed chance' to tackle fly-tipping

Government plans to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping are a missed opportunity, rural leaders have warned.

Published earlier this month, the government's Litter Strategy for England intends to curb illegal rubbish dumping.

It includes proposals for new enforcement, education and community engagement to reduce the £800m burden to the taxpayer of clean-up costs.

Much fly-tipping in the countryside takes place on farmland.

    See also: Government crackdown on fly-tippers

But the proposals have not impressed farm leaders – including the National Farmers Union.

NFU deputy president Minette Batters said: "On face value, one of the new proposals to force fly-tippers to clean up their own rubbish via community service is a step in the right direction, but this would rely on the perpetrators being caught and prosecuted first.

The NFU did not believe existing powers for enforcement were being fully utilised, said Ms Batters. Magistrates needed to make full use of their sentencing powers and provide a real deterrent against fly-tipping, she explained.

But she added: "We support the recommendation to stop councils from charging householders for the disposal of DIY household waste at local waste centres, because household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites.

"We also fully support the call to help smaller businesses - including farmers - to use existing waste collection and disposal infrastructure more effectively and at proportionate cost. This will help to make recycling and responsible waste disposal cheaper and more convenient."

In particular, the NFU wants to encourage local authorities to consider whether household waste recycling centres – and other facilities – could be adapted to accept waste and recycling from local traders or small business at an affordable cost to the user.

A similar view was expressed by the Country Land and Business Association.

CLA president Ross Murray said: "Litter and fly-tipping is not only a blight on our beautiful countryside, but comes at a major economic cost for farmers and other rural businesses who invariably have to clear it up.

"The cost of this was estimated at £50m last year – an unaffordable burden to bear."

Fines and other penalties were important, said Mr Murray, but they only worked if they were enforced.

"It is not clear what additional resources councils and police forces will have to do this," he said.

"This is especially case when dealing with the organised criminal gangs that are increasingly fuelling the rise in fly-tipping incidents."


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