The British countryside has seen a 5 per cent increase in the number of fly-tipping incidents in 2016 with farmers left to foot the bill of clean-up costs.
Figures show in the last twelve months there were more than 900,000 separate incidents with two-thirds of all farmland affected.
The NFU demanded ‘more needed to be done’ in the face of rising counts of fly-tipping after current rules mean farmers and landowners are left to tackle the clean-up and foot the bill.
It said offenders who illegally dump mattresses, carpets, dishwashers, old furniture and other bags of household waste on farmland should be penalised by police and local authorities.
Speaking at the Keep Britain Tidy conference, held in Leeds earlier this week, NFU environment forum member Phil Jarvis said: “We have seen a huge increase in the number of incidents in recent years and it really has become a scourge of farmland across the country.
“The rubbish can be costly and time consuming for farmers to remove, it is dangerous to human health, harmful to wildlife and livestock and in some cases, fly-tipped waste pollutes watercourses and contaminates land.
“What many people do not realise is that when incidents of fly-tipping take place on private land it is the farmers and landowners’ responsibility to remove the illegally dumped waste, costing people hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.”
The NFU has called for more communication between local authorities, police forces and the Environment Agency to give those impacted more confidence to report incidents.
Mr Jarvis added: “While farmers and landowners do all they can to prevent fly-tippers, such as installing gates, barriers and warning signs and installing security cameras and lighting, in many cases we have found that deterrents do not work.
“These fly-tippers are people intent on breaking the law and they think nothing of cutting padlocks, breaking gates and smashing cameras.”