CLEARING flytipped waste from agricultural land is estimated to cost farmers and landowners £47m a year.
And with Easter being a peak period for gardening, DIY, and spring cleaning, farming organisations have appealed to the public to dispose of waste responsibly.
There were 711,000 incidents reported in England alone in 2012- 13 – a rate of one case every 44 seconds – and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the North has renewed its campaign for tougher action to stamp it out.
Dorothy Fairburn, CLA North regional director, said: “It is staggering that so many people think it is acceptable to dump their waste in the countryside rather than at a recycling centre.
“CLA members frequently have to dispose of anything from black sacks to furniture, televisions, garden waste and piles of rubble.”
The DIY season brings particular problems as many recycling centres limit the amount of waste that can be dumped free of charge.
Miss Fairburn said: “Obviously, it is very tempting to take what you can for disposal and then dump the rest in the nearest hedge or gateway but we are asking everyone who has waste to dispose of to do the right thing as it is the countryside that suffers and it is our members who have to clear up and foot the bill.”
The CLA wants a ticketing scheme introduced so that landowners could take fly-tipped rubbish to their local tip free of charge. Miss Fairburn said: “The CLA’s action plan to tackle environmental crime calls for the Government to ensure local authorities can accept fly-tipped waste without charge to landowners, as well as an end to the prosecution of landowners who have waste dumped on their land and have to pay to remove it.”
New guidelines from the Sentencing Council, urging magistrates to make more use of the highest levels of fines for fly-tipping cases, are due to come in to force from July 1.
The CLA is seeking evidence of fly-tipping that has taken place on private land in the North. Farmers and landowners should send photographs of the result, with details of date, location and any further information to email@example.com once the crime has been reported to the police.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) estimates that two-thirds of farmers are affected by fly-tipping.
Old fridges, chairs, mattresses, tyres and contaminated waste, are regularly dumped with farmers and landowners left to pay the clean-up bill. Minette Batters, NFU deputy president, said: “Fly-tipping on private land remains a significant problem for farmers and landowners.”