Fly tipping on farms

14.11.13 – Fly tipping on farms

The persistent problem of fly-tipping on farms was tackled in this discussion. The majority of farms said they had experienced problems at some point in their current location, with the scale of the issue growing. Household furniture, sofas, mattresses, bin bags, builders rubble, fridges and freezers were cited as some of the items dumped. Whether the actual tipping is opportunistic or more calculated, there was agreement that local authorities could do more such as extending opening times at local tips or work more closely with private landowners to remove waste. The use of earth banks and blocking of farm tracks and gateways was seen as a good deterrent to such activity but not an answer to the problem in general.

The discussion held on Thursday 14th November 2013 was a discussion about the fly tipping on farms. It generated a total of 190 tweets on the topic from 51 participants. These included farmers, agri-food businesses, rural advisors, land agents, lawyers, journalists, academics and NFU officeholders, as well as members of the general public.

What type of farm do you work on /own and when was the last time you had problems with fly tipping?

  • I don’t but arable farmers near us have a big problem with it
  • We have a beef fattening unit and have never had a problem with fly tipping, other than litter lobbed over road hedge
  • Arable farm with fly tipping once a month in various locations.
  • I’m on Bodmin moor and we see a bit of fly tipping, often with garden waste & weeds that then persist. Crocismia, Balsam etc.
  • Dairy farm, luckily never and hopefully it stays that way
  • The scale of the problem seems large and growing
  • Sheep farm. Not really, just things flung over road hedges, empty beer cans, used condoms, even a pregnancy test once…

What type of things have you had fly tipped on your land and how often does it happen?

  • A lorry load of household furniture only last week!
  • Usually garden waste, but sometimes worthless items that have been collected inadvertently by “scrap metal traders”
  • Builders and “landscape gardeners” stuff. Also usual sofas, mattresses etc. Cables, fire extinguishers, bags of used nappies
  • Once had two dozen washing machines, got in a right spin over it! ,only happens when councils on strike
  • Mattresses & whole sofas most common! Traffic cones, bin bags, boxes of bones/offcuts cause a big problem with dogs
  • Uninsured driver crashed into me, police officer told him to dump the car in field entrance. Police supporting fly tipping.
  • T.V’s, full bin bags and tyres. Luckily not very often. Cider cans are the most frequent find
  • Minor trash that cd have been burned. But people complain so about smoke ‘nuisance’ from bonfires
  • Some builders rubble too but mostly furniture. The tip is about three miles away…
  • I don’t work on a farm anymore but am always driving past and seeing ill fridges and freezers

It is estimated that every 30 seconds there is someone fly tipping in England. On your farm is this getting better or worse?

  • I have pondered improving access to my land (steep, muddy and single-track) but on reflection I believe I shall not.
  • I sit in court as a JP in Norfolk. Not had a fly tipping case in front of me in 7 years
  • Probably depends on the situation. Lots opportunistic.
  • Getting worse round here, the usual culprits who work for cash and dump the waste on the way home to the CARAVAN.
  • Think it makes a difference on how long local tips open. Surrey council tips had short hours = more fly tipping

What could local authorities and police do differently to try and address the problem?

  • Work together, help private landowners with clear up cost, record incidents, prosecute offenders
  • Chelmsford city council clear very quickly. Uttlesford DC leave it – dead end road so they let it build up.
  • They could talk to us for a start.
  • LAs must accept charging for taking commercial waste creates problems elsewhere – use bit of the additional cash to sort it!
  • Most of ours is commercial – cheaper to fly tip than take it to the waste site
  • Cheshire tip has long hours and open at weekends, noticed difference when I moved, Surrey has a major problem
  • Agree, fly tipping only started when councils increased charges, now with bio mass some waste should be free
  • Amnesty days twice a year. Rag and bone men. Electronically tag every mattress
  • More public awareness raising. Landowners bear the brunt but most have no idea how the land works, including fly tippers.

What changes have you made to your farm to try and stop fly tipping and what could other people do?

  • All gateways onto roads blocked off. Report every incident.
  • Reporting is key as Defra don’t record incident on private land therefore little data
  • Got signs from env agency to stick up (although father in law doesn’t like them!!)
  • IMO if we don’t find garbage in the countryside, we could think are good people there. So the best solution is to collect it
  • Problem getting worse. Earth bank, blocking farm track stops it

Has fly tipping cost you anything to clear up? How much a year approx?

  • We have an average figure of £170 but I think this is very low!
  • There was a time when burnt out cars cost a small amount to be removed, but higher scrap values have fixed that.
  • About £50 a month

Ending on a more light hearted note- what is the starkest thing that has ever fly tipped on your land?

  • We had a bathroom suite dumped. Before we cd clear it, someone loaded it up and took it away. Reverse fly tip
  • A few years back had loads of dustbin bags full of women’s knickers dumped, didn’t look too close if new or not.

Simon Haley, Reading Agricultural Consultants, and Alan Spedding, 25 November 2013

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