THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has co-ordinated a meeting with a council and police force in a bid to tackle fly-tipping in the region.

The CLA held a meeting with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Cleveland Police and Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner's office on September 10, to see what could be done to reduce the number of cases off illegal waste dumping.

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, Simon Clarke's office and Neil Colver from Skelton and Gilling Estate attended.

As part of the meeting, Libby Bateman of the CLA, said: “The estimated average cost to rural businesses of this anti-social behaviour is around a £1,000 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 were really encouraged by this meeting, and will work with all parties involved to seek the best ways of dealing with this scourge. The CLA will support both local councils and the police in achieving the positive outcomes, especially in rural areas which are quite often seen as a soft touch by those fly-tipping their waste.”

Following the meeting, planned actions included a joint education campaign between other Teesside boroughs, a pilot scheme to investigate waste on private land, police to look into how reports of fly-tipping are handled by 101 operators and greater engagement.

Mr Clarke said: “Fly-tipping is an issue which frustrates many of my constituents and I am hopeful that the coordinated approach to tackling environmental criminals discussed at the meeting will help to protect our landscape and reduce the number of incidents where law-abiding residents are left with the burden of clearing up after fly-tippers.”

Neil Colver, of Skelton and Gilling Estates, said: “We have used physical barriers to prevent fly-tippers from accessing our land, but this is not always possible, especially on public access routes. It is unfair that private landowners should bear the brunt of environmental criminals who, in turn, are not adequately investigated and prosecuted.”

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:

n Extending the local government zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping all around the year;

n Ensuring powers to issue fixed penalty notices and/or seize vehicles are used;

n Imposing and enforcing stronger penalties to act as a deterrent;

n Investing time and resources tracking down the culprits; and

n Reducing council fees to legally dispose of waste.

Fly tipping can be reported to local councils online at Waste crime can also be reported in confidence and anonymously to Crimestoppers, by visiting Crimestoppers or by calling 0800 555 111.