Increase in fly-tipping means a bigger burden for landowners

January 26th 2022

Farmers and landowners are advised to take extra steps to protect themselves against fly-tipping this winter, with latest figures revealing a rise in cases.

According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), a total of 1,134,211 fly-tipping incidents were recorded across the country in 2020/21, up from 979,728 during the previous 12 months.

Incidents on agricultural land increased, year-on-year, from 4,054 to 5,538 and there were also 3,620 recorded incidents of asbestos being dumped compared to 3,064 the previous year.

Fly-tipping is an unwelcome blight on the countryside and can represent far more than an inconvenience to victims of the crime

Incidents not only pose significant environmental and human health risks, but also a legal and financial burden for farmers and landowners.

Although local authorities will usually pay the clean-up costs of clearing waste from public land, the responsibility for removing waste from private land falls squarely at the feet of the landowners. If they fail to do so, they can face prosecution.

Clean-up bills per incident average around £1,000, according to the National Rural Crime Network, but large-scale incidents can cost upwards of £10,000. In some cases, farmers can be repeatedly targeted and costs can quickly escalate.

Many combined farm policies, however, will cover the clean-up costs, typically capped between £10,000 and £15,000 for the insurance period.

Environmental criminals can be more inclined to act under cover of darkness and councils will often see a rise of incidents during long, dark winter evenings.

Prevention is better than cure and steps should be taken to ensure access to land and fields is restricted, where possible, with physical barriers.

Gates should be locked when not in use and although witnesses of fly-tipping incidents should not approach the perpetrators, by cutting back hedges and installing exterior lighting, visibility for the landowner can be notably improved. The installation of security cameras can also act as a deterrent and help in securing successful prosecutions.

For more information on the insurance considerations, please contact Anderson Fossett:

anderson.fossett@lycetts.co.uk
01328 857920 / 07880 472 763

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