New Year flytipping warning for farmers as figures reveal incidents are on the increase

January 19th 2018

Recently-released figures from Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealed that more than one million incidents of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England in 2016-17, costing taxpayers nationally £58m to clear up.

As many local authorities are looking at introducing charges for bulky waste and organic waste collections and charging for dumping waste at council-run tips, there is a fear that flytipping incidents on farmland will continue to increase.

DEFRA’s statistics show that there was a seven per cent rise in incidents last year: the fourth year in a row that incidents increased.  Every January, councils see a surge in flytipping, with rogue residents and traders dumping post-festive waste, including old Christmas trees.  Yet, although these latest figures are high, they are not a true reflection of the cost of flytipping across England. The DEFRA figures only account for flytipping incidents on council land, not private land.

When it comes to privately owned land, it is the farmers who fall prey to this crime who are having to shoulder the burden, responsible for meeting the cost of clearing rubbish from their land themselves, at an average cost of £1,000 per incident.  They are also liable if the dumped rubbish damages the countryside.

Farmers, estate owners and land managers are not only having to meet the clean-up costs but are having to worry about the damage it can cause to workers and their animals.  Flytipping can affect every part of their livelihood. Although many are well aware of the costs associated with clearing up these incidents, a relatively small number of farmers make claims for flytipping. This is because many have the kit and manpower to deal with such incidents themselves.

The issue is, however, more serious than many realise. If they fail to deal with incidences of flytipping on their land and it leads to environmental damage, farmers can be held liable under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If farmers are unfortunate enough to have a flytipping ‘hotspot’ on their land, costs soon add up. So it is important to have sufficient protection for farming businesses, particularly in the case of repeat offences.

Many combined farm insurance policies cover the cost of flytipping, generally around £5,000 per incident and capped at £15,000.  There are also a number of ways in which land managers can help protect themselves against flytippers.

  • Be vigilant, communicate with neighbours and report suspicious vehicles to the authorities;
  • Consult with your insurance broker, to see what cover is afforded to you in the event of an incident, and check with your local council, who may have schemes to assist with the removal of waste;
  • Deter would-be flytippers by ensuring that fields, particularly those which are roadside, are gated and locked where possible. If the problem persists, consider setting up security lights and a camera.  This will help provide crucial evidence should the council decide to investigate;
  • Finally, and most importantly, make sure that any rubbish dumped on your land is disposed of properly. By failing to remove the waste or moving it on to public land, you will leave yourself open to prosecution and could face fines of tens of thousands of pounds.

For advice on combined farm insurance policies and flytipping cover, contact your usual Lycetts contact or speak to an Account Executive at your nearest Lycetts office.

 

Wiliam Nicholl 3

William Nicholl

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