Good riddance to bad rubbish – the scourge of fly-tipping

In this blog CLA Director of Policy and Advice Christopher Price delves into the common issue  for farmers and rural land managers of fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping is becoming an increasing frustration for farmers and rural land managers.

There is no single ‘silver bullet’ able to deal with the problem in its entirety. Rather, a tool box approach is required with all stakeholders, land managers, waste producers and government having a role to play.

Although local authorities and the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales have powers to deal with fly-tipping, under the terms of a protocol agreed between them, local authorities will clear up waste fly-tipped on public land up to and including a single tipper-load of waste, whereas the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales will deal with larger incitements, incidents involving hazardous waste and incidents linked to criminal gangs.

No public body is under an obligation to remove waste from private land. The landowner has to take responsibility for clearance. However, under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities can require landowners to remove waste from their land.

Farmers and landowners should take steps to avoid or reduce the risk of being fly-tipped:

  • Install appropriate security, particularly at concealed field entrances
  • Arrange for the removal of any fly-tipped waste as soon as possible having carried out an appropriate investigation into its origins
  • In fly-tipping hotspots, install CCTV
  • Report all instances of fly-tipping
  • Liaise with neighbours to share information
  • Ensure farm tidiness
  • Implement a farm waste plan setting out what steps will be taken and when

Any business which produces, imports, keeps, stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste must take all reasonable steps to ensure that waste is managed properly. This duty of care is imposed under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It also applies to anyone who acts as a broker and has control of waste.

If waste is given to anyone other than the local authority trade waste collection service, the producer is under an obligation to check that they are registered waste carriers. If the waste ends up fly-tipped and the producer cannot show that he took reasonable steps to prevent it, he faces a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine.

In addition there is the need to complete a waste transfer note in respect of each load of non-hazardous waste moved off the premises. Notes may be either individual, in respect of a single load, or there can be a season ticket applying in respect of a series of loads.

Look to  the results of a fly-tipping survey conducted in conjunction with Farmers Weekly, along with a CLA action plan on what the Government should do to combat the scourge of fly-tipping.

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