Figures released this week reporting the recorded incidents of fly tipping in Wales, are expected to show a worrying increase in the problem. CLA Cymru is leading a call from farmers and landowners - fed up with dealing with the aftermath of fly tipping in the countryside - for a more determined strategy and the right resources to tackle the scourge of the countryside, and deter householders from using illegal waste carriers to dump their rubbish.
“Recorded cases of fly tipping increased by as much as 16 percent in England in the past 12 months, according to figures released last week. This is over a million cases. As Wales’ figures are published this week, we anticipate a similar spike in incidents, and declaring enough is enough! The community must wake up to the scourge of the countryside and real action needs to be taken,” says Nigel Hollett, Director CLA Cymru – the organisation that represents farms, landowners and businesses in Wales.
“The real extent of the problem is not shown by these figures because the figures do not take into account the impact on private land. Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime. Our own research tells us that almost two thirds of private rural landowners suffer from repeated fly-tipping incidents. It’s also told us that the average clear up cost for each incident is around £800. One recent incident cost a rural business around £100,000 to clear.”
It's a complete injustice that private landowners who are victims, are then subject to becoming a criminal themselves if they do not clear up and pay for the mess to be disposed of. We’ve got to step away from a culture in which we tolerate fly tipping as just one of those things… and as an occupational hazard for those who farm or run businesses in isolated rural places.
“Fly-tipped waste isn’t just unsightly,” Nigel continues. “It can be hazardous to handle, to livestock, to wildlife and to the environment. Some hazardous waste requires special treatment by experts – a very costly, time-consuming and demoralising business.”
“In a 5-point Fly Tipping Action Plan, we’re calling on the Welsh Government to invest more resources to deter, detect and prosecute rural fly tippers. We’re calling for proportionately harsher penalties that reflect the damage done to the countryside, to businesses and to the community. We proposes that victims of fly-tipping on private land should be allowed to dispose of the illegal waste free of charge at local tips, and support should be given to defray the high cost of clear-up.”
“Powers to impose Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have previously been given to local authorities, together with the right to reinvest funds generated into further reducing the problem. We’re calling on government to ensure the new measures make real impact. Last year we welcomed the Welsh Government’s consultation on a raft of proposals to combat the increase in littering and fly tipping. We look forward to seeing how the Government will progress these proposals.
“We’re not only talking about careless householders unwilling to take garbage to the local waste transport station, and unscrupulous unregistered waste handlers, but sometimes fly-tipped waste is associated with other crime. We warn farmers and commercial property owners, to beware of untraceable criminals who hire space, fill it with costly waste, and depart without trace.
“Introducing FPNs for householders who fly-tip or pass their waste on to third parties, including unauthorised waste carriers might be a useful deterrent. However, to really tackle the crime, raising awareness of the risks of being caught and bringing forward more prosecutions are the right methods that will bring about a real change in behaviour.
“Without better understanding from the public and the right legal deterrents in place, fly-tipping will continue to increase exponentially and further blight the countryside – rightly seen in Wales as a critical national asset.”