Fly-tipping warning to farmers as councils spend almost £400,000 in a year
- Credit: Archant
Councils spent nearly £400,000 clearing up fly-tippers’ mess in Suffolk and Essex last year. See how much in your area in our table.
New figures from Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed the number of reported incidents in Suffolk fell from 3,100 to 2,884 between 2015/16 and 2016/17 – a fall of 7%.
There are still an average of eight reported every day in the county.
The number almost halved in Ipswich, from 976 to 579.
But the offences, which can be punished by a £400 on-the-spot fine or court action, still cost Suffolk’s councils £136,802 last year.
In north-east Essex, the number rose from 3,644 to 3,950 – a rise of 8%. It cost Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, and Tendring councils a total of £251,145.
The news comes as an agricultural expert warns that farmers face a greater risk of being targeted by fly-tippers.
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William Nicholl, head of Norfolk-based insurance specialist Lycetts’ rural division, said the Defra figures only account for fly-tipping incidents on council land, not private land.
He said farmers have to pay up to £1,000 to clear the mess themselves.
Farmers are also liable if the dumped rubbish damages the countryside, he said.
Mr Nicholl said: “Farmers are well aware of this issue and are saddened by the visual impact it has on the countryside they maintain, as well as it being a nuisance and inconvenience when trying to get on with their normal, daily jobs.
“However, I don’t think that farmers are as aware that, should they fail to deal with incidences of flytipping on their land and it leads to environmental damage, they could be held liable under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
“With many authorities looking at introducing charges for bulky waste and organic waste collections and charging for dumping waste at council-run tips, there is a fear that flytipping incidents on farmland will increase.”
He said only a small number of farmers make claims for fly-tipping as most have the resources to clear up the mess.
He added: “If farmers are unfortunate enough to have a flytipping hotspot on their land, costs soon tot up and their business could be put in jeopardy.
“Flytipping can affect every part of their livelihood.”