Farmer urges councils to help with cost of clearing fly-tipping

Norfolk farmer Tim Papworth has been a repeated victim of fly-tipping, including tyres dumped over a hedge into a field

Norfolk farmer Tim Papworth has been a repeated victim of fly-tipping, including tyres dumped over a hedge into a field - Credit: Tim Papworth / Adam Fradgley

A frustrated farmer who has been a repeated victim of fly-tipping has asked why councils cannot help landowners with the cost of clearing illegally-dumped rubbish.

Tim Papworth, a director of LF Papworth in Felmingham, near North Walsham, says rural crimes have cost the family company £25,000 in the last two years.

They include arson of straw stacks and the thefts of fuel, tools and GPS guidance systems from harvesters and tractors.

But fly-tipping is a recurring problem, including tyres thrown over a hedge, and a caravan loaded with rubbish which was dumped in a field and set alight in February 2020.

Speaking as the National Farmers' Union (NFU) revealed the results of a survey showing the impact of rural crime across East Anglia, Mr Papworth said he felt "let down" by local authorities on fly-tipping.

As rubbish dumped on private land is the responsibility of the landowner, he said victims of the crime were punished twice as they were often charged for disposing of it correctly.


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"No-one wants to deal with it and it is left to the landowner to clear it up," he said. 

"The problem is in finding any evidence to prosecute. The police refer it to the Environment Agency and the councils say it is the landowners' responsibility. And, as the contractor, we often get told to sort it out.

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"One solution is to say to farmers that actually the local tips will take it without charge if you are in a mind to pick it up. At the moment if you take it to the tip they will charge you.

"Very often these fly-tips are found near council tips. People go there with a trailer full of rubbish and find maybe they're closed on a Sunday, or maybe the site has refused to take it... and then you find it in your field."

Farmer Tim Papworth & NFU Chair Potato forum East Angliapictured at his farm in Norfolk. Picture

North Norfolk farmer Tim Papworth says his company has suffered rural crimes costing £25,000 in the last two years - Credit: Adam Fradgley

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, which runs the county's waste disposal and recycling centres, said: “When it comes to illegally-dumped waste all landowners, including local councils, are responsible for the cost of dealing with waste dumped illegally on their land.

"Any landowner that experiences fly-tipping should contact their local district council to report the incident, which may lead to an investigation and prosecution, but the cost of dealing with the fly-tip will remain with the landowner.

“It is worth bearing in mind that where a landowner or their contractor is moving waste they should ensure that, as part of making arrangements for safe and appropriate disposal of the waste, they have considered any requirement for a waste transfer licence from the Environment Agency.”

Fly-tipped tyres found by farmer Tim Papworth in a north Norfolk field

Fly-tipped tyres found by farmer Tim Papworth in a north Norfolk field - Credit: Tim Papworth


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