The NFU has said that the government’s new Litter Strategy for England is a missed opportunity to fully tackle the scourge of fly-tipping as an environmental crime.
Published this week, the strategy intends to curb littering, with proposals for new enforcement, education and community engagement to reduce the £800m burden to the taxpayer of clean-up costs.
NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said: “On face value, one of the new proposals to force fly-tippers to clean up their own rubbish via community service is a step in the right direction, but this would rely on the perpetrators being caught and prosecuted first.
“This is a fundamental problem because the NFU does not believe that existing powers for enforcement are being fully utilised, so we are pressing the Magistrates' Association to ensure its members are fully aware of the requirements of the Environmental Offences Definitive Guidelines. Magistrates need to make full use of their sentencing powers and provide a real deterrent against fly-tipping.
“There are a couple of positive points in the report that we are pleased to see. We support the recommendation to stop councils from charging householders for the disposal of DIY household waste at local waste centres, because household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites.
“We also fully support the call to help smaller businesses - including farmers - to use existing waste collection and disposal infrastructure more effectively and at proportionate cost. This will help to make recycling and responsible waste disposal cheaper and more convenient.
“In particular, we want to encourage local authorities to consider whether Household Waste Recycling Centres, and other recycling facilities, could be adapted to accept waste and recycling from local traders or small business at an affordable cost to the user.”
Ms Batters added: “Fly-tipping is a serious issue that many farmers deal with on a daily basis. It is a massive inconvenience and costs them thousands of pounds to rid their land of rubbish dumped by criminals. Only with the collaboration of all parties - local authorities, police, land owners and the Environment Agency working together - can we fully clean up on fly tipping and protect the countryside.”