‘We have to pay for the privilege’ - the farmers having to fork out to clean up fly-tipping
PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:07 18 February 2020
A farmer on the east coast has slammed the “worsening problem” of fly-tipping as lorry loads full of rubbish are dumped on private rural land.
Edward Wharton, a farmer in Stokesby, Filby and Halvergate, said the issue was getting out of hand in the fields adjacent to where he works - adding that he often has to bear the cost of the clean-up himself.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council's policy is to remove waste dumped on public land or highways free of charge, but it does not apply to private land, which becomes a problem for farmers in particular.
Mr Wharton said: "As farmers, we get a lot of waste dumped on our private fields, and the council won't go near that.
"We have to pay for the clean-up with our own equipment, and then pay for the disposal of the waste at the tip - which is very expensive since they upped the charges.
"Having to clean up other people's mess is annoying, but not undoable. The annoying bit is having to pay for that privilege.
"The only hope of catching the person is if they accidentally leave a personal document behind."
According to Mr Wharton, the spike in fly-tipping is due to prices at the county's tips and recycling centres, which he says encourages people to do anything "to dodge official charges".
But Joe Hull, head of waste at Norfolk County Council, said: "The changes to charges at recycling centres have not led to the sharp increase in fly-tipping that many feared and did deliver the savings expected."
Yet some agree that the county council's decision to charge for even small amounts of waste disposal - which used to be free - is making fly-tipping a more attractive option.
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Justine Davis, from Martham, who uses the tip regularly, said: "I think the council should offer a membership fee for waste disposal for the whole year - then you could go back and use it as many times as you need.
"We used the Caister tip just before Christmas, and it cost nearly £30 to drop off an old shower screen, two bags of rubble and some garden waste and guttering.
"We are on income support at the minute and when you're really struggling with money I can honestly see why you might be pushed to fly-tipping."
The borough council declined to comment and said it is not responsible for the household recycling centre, but said "if a land owner is suffering from repeated-fly tipping and has evidence, environmental services will investigate where they can".