What a load of rubbish: Fly tipping on farming land

read time: 2 min

Reports indicate that over two thirds of farmers have been affected by fly tipping, with an increase of over 8% across the 2018/2019 period. 

Local Authorities only have an obligation to clear fly tipped rubbish if it is open land under their control. The Environment Agency  are only likely to get involved if it is a larger deposit where there's a threat to the environment or human health. In both instances the land owner can claim compensation but only if a successful prosecution is brought.

Otherwise the clean-up costs fall upon the land owner. The temptation to move waste onto public land  should be resisted as that would make you the fly tipper with punishments available such as unlimited fines, imprisonment, seizure of vehicles etc.

There is statutory guidance that  Local authorities should work in partnership with land owners so it is  worth contacting the Local Authority or the Environment Agency in the case of more major potentially harmful deposits. They might be prepared to assist especially where reported early and in detail, however it is at their discretion.

There have been instances where the impact has been particularly dramatic. Take the case of the Lincolnshire farmers who were approached and offered a delivery of tarmac road planings that could be used to repair tracks and yards on their land. However, after accepting the offer, bales of landfill waste were dumped on their land instead leaving them with an environmental liability as well as the costs for transporting the waste to authorised disposal sites. Twenty five bales deposited on the first farmers land cost around £3,000 to remove but the second farmer had nearer 2,500 bales dumped on his land and the costs of disposing of these was in the region of  £300,000.

The Environment Agency urges all landowners to be wary to avoid becoming the next victim of this scam. They have issued the following guidance: Use reputable agents and brokers;  Carry out suitable checks and due diligence, i.e. get the individual's details, vehicle registration, ask where the waste is coming from (address, permit number, waste carriers registration); Inform them you’ll be contacting the Environment Agency or call them whilst they are there; Do not agree to accept any waste until you have carried out checks and had a cooling off period to fully consider the offer.

For further information please contact Darren Blackburn on d.blackburn@ashfords.co.uk or 01392 333737.

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