Criminals’ vehicles should be seized as a default punishment for being found guilty of fly-tipping, rural campaigners claimed, as they demanded action to deal with a surge of illegally dumped rubbish in the countryside.
A recent survey showed that almost two-thirds of farmers and landowners had been affected by fly-tipping and that the typical cost to a landowner of cleaning up the blight is £844.
Some 85 per cent of farmers said they had invested in CCTV or security lights, or had padlocked entrances and blocked gateways to deter the organised criminal gangs who the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) say are largely to blame for fly-tipping.
Government figures show that there were just 2,135 prosecutions and 77 fines of more than £1,000 issued to perpetrators during 2015-16, despite 936,000 fly-tipping incidents being recorded in the same period.
To better deter fly-tipping, the CLA has published a five-point plan that it wants the Government to adopt.
As well as seizing the vehicles of offenders by default, it calls for home and business owners to be fined if their waste is found fly-tipped, a ‘fly-tipping tsar’ to be appointed to co-ordinate a response between national agencies, for new ways to clear up private land and support those landowners so that they are no longer liable for the damage caused, and for the Government to better educate the public and work in partnership to reduce waste crime through best practice.
Ross Murray, the CLA’s president, said: “Private landowners are fed up of clearing away other people’s rubbish and paying for the privilege. If they don’t act, they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste which is simply not fair.
“It’s not just the odd bin bag that is being fly-tipped but tonnes of hazardous waste, mattresses being set alight in woodland and even a dead horse dumped on private land because the perpetrators know they can get away with it.”
At Aldby Park country estate in the Ryedale village of Buttercrambe earlier this year, owner George Winn-Darley, spent a total of 46 hours and about £800 to clear rubbish and furniture that had been dumped on his land.
He said: “Judging by the marked increase in fly-tipping incidents, fixed penalty notices are really ineffective.
“At the moment, it is generally more expensive for the victim to remove the fly-tipped material than the fixed penalty notice issued – as more than 80 per cent of these are for £500 or less.”