Fly-tipping dumped on farmland in Wales was swiftly cleared after a group of farmers employed lawyers to track down and punish the offender.
Members of the Coity Wallia Commoners’ Association (CWCA) had faced having to clear up the waste on land where their sheep graze in Bridgend after it was made clear that neither South Wales Police nor Bridgend County Borough intended to pursue a prosecution.
Tracked down by lawyers from Harrison Clark Rickersby (HCR) through the waste they dumped however, the offender was threatened with a private environmental prosecution and forced to pay for the clear up.
It is thought to be the first private prosecution of its kind in Wales.
Bryn Thomas, HCR lawyer who dealt with the case said: “Private prosecutions are not often used in these cases, but it was very effective and it means that the Association does not have to find the £600 clear-up and legal costs.”
Warning of the dangerous impact waste can have on livestock, the Association is now urging others to take private legal action in an attempt to prevent people from fly-tipping on common land.
Huw Griffiths, secretary of the CWCA said: “Fly tipping is a national problem on common land and we are delighted that the threat of private prosecution forced the offender to take responsibility for his actions by paying the clear up and legal costs associated with the illegal deposit of waste.”
Official government statistics for the year 2018/2019 revealed that local authorities in England dealt with just over one million incidents, an increase of 8 per cent from the 998,000 incidents reported in 2017/2018.
Aled Owen, from HCR, went on to highlight the case set an important precedent, adding: “People know that if they carry out this action of fly-tipping they will not get away with it and they can be penalised for their actions.”
As part of its work with the National Fly Tipping Prevention Group, Defra is now recruiting volunteers to help with a project to improve information on fly-tipping.
Volunteers will be asked to download the ‘FlyMapper’ App to their phones to record incidents, aiding Government to improve understanding of the scale of the burden, particularly on privately owned land.