NFU survey reveals fly-tipping as bad as ever as Channel 4 highlights shocking impact of waste crime

21 June 2024

Fly tipping Long Whatton

The NFU is calling on the next government to treat rural crime as a priority with a new member survey¹ revealing fly-tipping is as bad as ever and impacting farmers’ ability to produce food and care for the great British countryside.

Results² from the survey of 620 NFU members will be highlighted during an edition of Channel 4 Dispatches: ‘Rubbish Tip Britain’ being aired this evening.

More than half of respondents (54%) to the survey said they had experienced small-scale³ fly-tipping on farm while over a quarter (30%) said they’d been hit by large-scale⁴ fly-tipping. Nearly half of the members surveyed (48%) said the problem had got worse over the past five years.

The survey comes after more than 19,000 people signed the NFU's letter to newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners last month urging them to make tackling rural crime a priority.

NFU Vice President Rachel Hallos said: “It comes as absolutely no surprise that the results of this latest NFU survey show that more and more of our farms and countryside spaces are being used as dumping grounds. Our members tell us they’ve experienced battered old kitchen appliances, sofas and mattresses abandoned on their land, as well as industrial-scale amounts of hazardous and toxic materials such as asbestos. One also had 10 fridge freezers left in a gateway. It’s shocking and no exaggeration to say that fly-tipping is a constant blot on the landscape.

“Over the past few months, we have been working closely with production company Quicksilver Media on a special programme for Channel 4 Dispatches to demonstrate how fly-tipping and waste crime has become more organised and sophisticated across the whole of the UK. It will show how farmers’ and their families are being left to clean up the mess at great cost – both emotionally and financially. When viewers tune in this evening, they will see how soul-destroying it can be to have your home and workplace used as a dumping ground and the huge damage it causes.

“For some time now, we have been making the case to politicians that action is desperately needed. In the NFU’s election manifesto, aimed at all political parties, we highlight that rural crime, including fly-tipping, must be treated as a priority.  We want to see a consistent and coordinated response across government, including fair funding for rural policing, a dedicated rural crime team in every police force in the country and the formation of a cross-departmental rural crime task force to address the failures in dealing with rural crime.

“With concerted help and support from the next government and police forces, we can start to crack down on this continual blight on the nation so farmers and growers can concentrate on what we do best - producing home-grown food for you to enjoy alongside caring for the beautiful great British countryside.”


Notes to editor:

  1. 620 NFU members were contacted at random and completed a telephone survey between 25 May and 11 June 2024. The sample was stratified by NFU regions to ensure representation across England & Wales.
  2. Contact the NFU press office for the full results of the fly-tipping member survey.
  3. Small-scale fly-tipping classed in our survey as a single load from a small van, car boot or bin bag size.
  4. Large-scale fly-tipping classed as from a transit van, tipper lorry or multiple large loads at the same site.
  5. Channel 4 Dispatches: ‘Rubbish Tip Britain’ will be shown at 8pm this evening.
  6. More on Quicksilver Media can be found here.
  7. Read the NFU election manifesto here.