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Farmers speak of ongoing battle with fly-tippers

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Farmers have been speaking about their experiences of fly-tipping after new statistics revealed the number of cases has rocketed in recent years.
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Essex farmer Billy Robinson said eight lorry loads of rubbish – about 160cu.m – were dumped on his farm in Hockley last week.

 

It comes after NFU figures showed there had been 711,000 incidents in England in 2012/2013.

 

Bill Barr, a former NFU county chairman, farms 263 hectares (650 acres) of arable crops near St Albans, Hertfordshire.

 

He has had ongoing fly-tipping problems for many years, with block paving, asbestos and other rubbish regularly dumped along the track leading to his farm.

 

Mr Barr said: “It is a problem in the whole country but in this affluent area of the South East it is even more of a problem as people pay somebody to get rid of rubbish.

 

“Most people do not realise, they just give somebody £100 to take their rubbish away, but the first place they find out of St Albans they tip up and go. It is an easy way to make money.”

 

Arable farmer David King said rubbish is dumped at least five or six times a year on his land outside Burwell, Suffolk.

 

“It is dumped in gateways, along a bridleway and along the grass margins which are part of my environmental stewardship scheme,” said Mr King, a tenant of the Cambridgeshire County Farms estate.

 

“We have had building materials, household waste and hazardous waste including asbestos dumped here. The council is very good when it is on the public highway, but when it is on my land, I have to clear it up.

 

“It is a health hazard to me and it disfigures our beautiful countryside.

 

“I do not think people realise they are risking a heavy fine and potentially even imprisonment by fly-tipping.”

 

Fly-tipping is also a big problem in Scotland.

 

Figures from the Scottish Government revealed more than 250 million items are dumped in the countryside each year, costing £53m to clean-up.

 

The situation led Holyrood to increase the fines in the hope of deterring would-be fly-tippers.

 

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead confirmed fixed penalty notices for littering have risen from £50 to £80, while fly-tipping offences have quadrupled to £200 from April 1.

 

It follows the National Litter Strategy Consultation in which two-thirds of respondents said they were in favour of increasing the penalties.

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