Tim Breitmeyer, CLA President, on fly-tipping and the excellent related campaigns and local initiatives there have been in recent years but there is still a long way to go in tackling the issue.
It’s been more than two years since Farmers Weekly launched its Stop the Blot campaign in conjunction with CLA Insurance, and we’re still sick to the back teeth of clearing up other people’s rubbish and paying for the privilege of doing so.
Despite this excellent campaign and countless local initiatives highlighting the issue, we are still no nearer to making headway on a crime which affects more than two-thirds of landowners – in the last year of recorded statistics there were around one million reported incidents, down by just 1% year-on-year. Like someone on a treadmill, we’re running to stand still in the fight on fly-tipping.
Readers will be all too aware that the crime is particularly odious for everyone who lives in the countryside, but especially unfair on landowners who are liable for clearing up. Estimates put clean-up costs to be over £1,000 per incident and with many farmers suffering multiple incidents, it is a severe financial drain for any business. This severe injustice of paying for the privilege of sorting out someone else’s crime needs to be addressed urgently.
While local authorities, rural police forces and government departments like to talk a tough talk, the reality is that until these words are matched with actions of real consequence fly-tipping will continue to blight our local communities. At the very least we need tougher penalties to deter perpetrators and find new ways to clear-up and support victims. Until this happens, I fear, any war on fly-tipping will be lost.
A shorter version of this blog post originally appeared in Farmers Weekly, 28 June 2019.