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UK farmers demand action as fly-tipping problem spirals out of control

Farmers blighted by fly-tipping have demanded action as the situation spirals out of control.

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UK farmers demand action as fly-tipping problem spirals out of control

The latest Defra figures revealed there were 14,430 incidents involving ‘significant [or] multi-loads’ of waste in England in 2017-18, up 43 per cent from 10,120 cases the previous year.

 

A regular victim of the crime, Richard Heady said illegal dumping of waste had intensified, with a shift from household waste to larger, industrial waste.

 

Mr Heady, who runs a mixed farm near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, said: “From my experience, probably five or 10 years ago we would have had more small car loads or people dumping boxes or bits and bobs from their house, whereas it now seems to be more small businesses, maybe builders or carpet fitters.

 

He said: “I think as we are on the edge of the city we are an easy target. There is a field we call rubbish gateway, because it has a layby and there is basically rubbish there the whole time.”


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The figures coincided with recommendations from a major independent review into how Government deals with serious and organised waste crime, suggesting the department developed a Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC).

 

Spearheaded by Defra Secretary Michael Gove in June, it found tougher penalties would act as more of a deterrent to would-be criminals.

 

If approved, the JUWC would be fronted by the Environment Agency (EA) alongside collaborative work with police, crime commissioners, HMRC and waste industry representatives.

 

Due to EA funding cuts, the review suggested the development of new funding mechanisms to allocate resources, for example a landfill tax specifically for waste crime.

Other recommendations said compulsory electronic tracking of waste could help clamp down on illegal movements of waste.

 

NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts said: “The NFU supports the review’s recommendation of a unit to look specifically at waste crime, but it is imperative farmers and landowners are involved at every stage.

 

“They are the people at the sharp end of the scourge of fly-tipping, which has a seriously detrimental effect on lives and farming businesses.”

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