In a bid to help avoid the build-up of waste in homes and reduce fly-tipping opportunities, Government has called on councils to reopen Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs).
Published on May 5, the guidance revealed how sites can re-open in accordance with lockdown measures to ensure waste is disposed of properly and social distancing measures are met.
Councillor David Renard, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said reopening sites will be a ‘gradual process’ during the next few weeks and urged people to ‘only travel to re-opened HWRCs if it is essential – if their waste poses a risk to their health, the local environment or injury.’
The move has been welcomed by industry leaders, since the lockdown has seen a surge in the number of farmers reporting fly-tipping incidences.
NFU deputy president, Stuart Roberts, said: “We are pleased Government has listened to our concerns on increased fly-tipping and are recommending to local authorities’ household waste and recycling centres can start re-opening if safe to do so.
“The NFU has been hearing from many of our members that their fields are being bombarded with rubbish that is being illegally dumped there, in part due to centres being closed as part of the COVID-19 lockdown measures.
“That rubbish is very costly and time consuming for farmers to remove, dangerous to human health and harmful to wildlife and livestock.”
According to latest Defra statistics, more than 1 million incidents of fly-tipping were recorded in 2018/2019.
Rebecca Davidson, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “The sooner recycling centres reopen, the better for the countryside.
“Too many farmers are having to deal with the aftermath of their fields being used as rubbish dumps and at a time when they are under immense pressure to produce food for the nation.
“The public needs to be aware that their waste is posing a real threat to the health and welfare of farmers, their livestock and the surrounding environment.”
NFU has also called for tougher measure for those caught committing the crime.
Mr Roberts added: “Currently 95% of fines given to offenders caught fly-tipping are lower than the cost of hiring a skip.
“This is a nonsense; people dumping waste illegally must see the fines as a punishment and fines must be made punitive, so they act as a proper deterrent to anyone tempted to fly-tip waste.
“The public should also be more responsible for their actions by ensuring that any rubbish is taken away by a registered carrier or run the risk of being prosecuted if any dumped waste is traced back to them.”