CLA South East has raised concerns that proposals to close and cut the opening hours of recycling centres, as well as introducing charges for certain items, may lead to an increase in fly-tipping in the Thames Valley area.
It comes as Buckinghamshire County Council launches a public consultation into potentially permanently closing at least one site, with the preferred option being Bledlow, in a bid to save money.
The authority is also considering cutting opening hours at other centres, and proposing new charges for handling certain items.
CLA South East represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses across the region. Regional Director Robin Edwards said: “Much good work is being done in the county to help try and bring offenders to justice. More than 650 fly-tippers have been prosecuted in Buckinghamshire over the last 15 years, and the council prides itself on having one of the highest prosecution success rates in England.
“But more than 11,000 fly-tipping cases – six a day on average – have blighted the countryside in the last five years alone, costing tax-payers £500,000 a year in clear-up costs, and it would be a huge shame if these numbers were to grow even bigger as a result of cuts to recycling centre services.
“Closing or partially closing recycling centres will not help. Each incident of fly-tipping on private land costs the owner on average £844 to clean up, but why should innocent landowners bear the burden of this disgraceful crime?
“It is easy to blame householders for the significant rise in fly-tipping, but we’re seeing more and more waste on an industrial scale dumped across the countryside. Part of the problem is council fees putting people off lawful disposal at the local tip, and it is also businesses not complying with existing waste disposal regulations.”
It comes as Walsall Council is considering extending opening hours at its tips and introducing a free collection service for bulky household items, in a bid to tackle fly-tipping.
According to government figures, there were nearly 80,000 incidents of fly-tipping in the South East during 2016-17 and around one million nationally. In the last year, it is estimated that fly-tipping cost local authorities across the country nearly £58 million to clear.
The CLA has created a five-point action plan to tackle this blight on the countryside. Click here to read it.