Time for tougher action on fly-tippers who blight our countryside
- Credit: Archant
Stronger action is needed to combat the scourge of fly-tipping, warn campaigners.
Figures released by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that in 2015-16 there were more than 100,000 incidents of fly-tipping across the East Anglia region.
But the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, says the figure does not reflect the true scale of the crime.
It says increasing reports of fly-tipping on private rural land are not included in official figtures, meaning the problem is far worse.
CLA East regional director Ben Underwood said: 'These figures do not tell the full story of this disgraceful behaviour which blights our beautiful countryside.
'Local authorities tend not to get involved with clearing incidences of fly-tipped waste from private land leaving the landowner to clean up and foot the bill.
'Our members have reported a big increase in fly-tipping on their land.
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'It's not just the odd bin bag but large household items from unwanted sofas to broken washing machines, building materials and even asbestos being dumped across our countryside.
'Farmers and landowners are forced to clear up somebody else's rubbish or they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste. This is simply not right or fair.
'Only when people see evidence of local authorities taking stronger action to combat the scourge of fly-tipping can we hope to see a reversal in this worrying trend.'
The CLA has called on local authorities, the Environment Agency and the police to commit to stronger action against the increase of fly-tipping on private land by extending the local government zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping, using powers to issue fixed penalty notices and seize vehicles, imposing stronmger penalties and investing time and resources in tracking down the culprits.
The CLA also says reducing council fees to legally dispose of waste would held reduce fly-tipping.
The CLA says farmers and landowners can go some way to preventing fly-tipped waste on their land by ensuring gates to fields are locked, using CCTV in black spots and reporting all incidents to police.