Farmers are to remain responsible for clearing up rubbish illegally dumped on their land despite calls for a change in the law, Environment Minister Therese Coffey has confirmed.
Ms Coffey made the Government’s position clear during a parliamentary debate on fly-tipping secured by Neil Parish MP this morning.
During the debate, Monmouth MP David TC Davies said the fact liability for removing dumped rubbish lay with the landowner was a ‘particular problem’ and suggested it be ‘pushed back’ to the people who produced the waste.
The CLA has previously called on Government to develop new ways to clear up fly-tipped rubbish so victims do not have to bear the cost.
Research from the group has shown farmers have to pay an average of £844 to remove dumped waste, with two-thirds of landowners affected.
Responding to Mr Davies’ call during the debate, the Minister said: “I am aware of the difficulties facing individuals and businesses when fly-tipping occurs on their land.
“However, landowners do have a legal responsibility for their land, and that is why we encourage landowners to secure their land against fly-tippers, to always report incidents to their local council and the police and to swiftly clear fly-tipped waste so it does not become a known dumping ground.”
When pressed by Mr Parish on this issue, Ms Coffey added: “If somebody is convicted, the landowner can pursue a court order under the 1995 Environmental Protection Act in order to get the cost reimbursed for the clearance.
“That is why I would continue to encourage councils and other agencies to keep going with attempts to convict in order to try to help private landowners.”
One promise the Minister did make was to discuss the DVLA’s tendency to use the Data Protection Act as a way to hold information on fly-tippers back with her colleagues at the Department for Transport.
In November last year, Farmers Guardian reported on a case in Devon where the police were able to find the vehicle registration number of a fly-tipper after a farmer found a receipt from a fast food drive-through amongst some rubbish dumped on his land.
But when the police approached the DVLA with the registration number, they were told the name of the vehicle owner could not be released because of data protection rules.