HAMBLETON council has spent £44,000 clearing up illegally dumped waste in the district – nearly twice what it spent the previous year. The cost is probably much greater - many farmers finding rubbish on their land have to set to work clearing it themselves.

Who hasn’t passed down a picturesque country lane at some point and come across an ugly heap of plasterboard or binbags shattering the rural idyll?

The district council says there has been a “direct correlation” with the introduction of charging for disposing of tyres and construction waste at county council-run household waste centres and an increase in fly-tipping in the countryside.

But landfill isn’t a bottomless pit unfortunately; the charges are likely to stay and the problems of illegal waste dumping are unlikely to disappear.

It’s not just an issue confined to North Yorkshire; Defra estimates in the year 2016/17, local authorities in England dealt with around one million fly-tipping incidents.

Hambleton District Council’s scrutiny committee has called for an investigation into the issue and council officers say they are reviewing their policy for enforcement as it is not “fit for purpose”.

Perhaps the solution is one Hambleton District Council is considering – to make it easier for people to report waste being dumped illegally.

Fly-tipping is the kind of selfish crime people will probably be quite happy to report.

Those offenders who want to save a few quid by making their rubbish everyone else’s problem hardly endear themselves to the wider population. Surely a quick picture of a registration plate or note of their number will yield some positive results.