Without doubt, the problem of fly-tipping has worsened in recent years. Yet while the taxpayer has to foot the cost of rubbish removal from public land, landowners are responsible for the clear-up costs from their own property. As well as the expense involved in this, large amounts of waste pose a risk to both health and the environment.
Clear-up costs are not always covered on insurance policies. Where they are, sometimes cover is for a limited clear-up cost which may represent only a fraction of what is needed to pay the final bill. It is important to check the extent and limitations of your cover with your broker.
There is a burden of responsibility upon landowners to take whatever precautionary steps they can to prevent, or at least limit, fly-tipping. They must be vigilant and do what they can to deter fly-tippers. The following defensive measures provide a basis for action:
- Ensure that gateways are secure and blocked, even if by a visible wire or log, to prevent vans being able to reverse in;
- If fly-tipping does take place on your land, remove the waste as quickly as possible so it doesn’t become known as a convenient site;
- Consider erecting signage – you want potential offenders to know that you’re being vigilant;
- If a fly-tipping problem persists, consider installing a stealth camera to catch the offenders in the act; and
- If the identity of a fly-tipper is established, then the police and council should be informed to pursue convictions and the possible recovery of costs.
One final consideration to note: if it transpires that waste might contain noxious liquids, then the Environment Agency should be contacted immediately to protect people and property.