Digital waste tracking – a new way to tackle fly-tipping

09 May 2022

Rural crime
An image of a man carrying a piece of metal to load onto the back of a van

A new UK-wide digital waste tracking service should enable regulators to better detect and tackle waste crime, including fly-tipping, illegal waste sites, and illegal waste exports. Read our response to Defra's consultation on how it should be implemented.

The NFU has responded to Defra's consultation on the introduction of mandatory digital waste tracking

You can read our response in full here: NFU response to consultation on Introduction of Mandatory Digital Waste Tracking

Scope of consultation

The Environment Act gives the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland the power to establish a centralised digital waste tracking system. This will require those who produce, handle, dispose of or make products from waste, to enter information onto it. 

This consultation was on the practical aspects of implementing the system. It was designed to help inform the design of the service and produce regulations to support it.

NFU views

We submitted a response to this consultation because:

  • Agricultural businesses generate waste and can be involved with the handling and transportation of their own waste.
  • Agriculture is a sector which values the use of waste exemptions within the industry.
  • Fly-tipping is an issue that continues to significantly blight the countryside and agricultural businesses. We believe that the negative impacts associated with fly-tipping affect members of the farming community disproportionately.

Fly-tipping – we highlight impacts

The measures we have suggested to Defra will ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately. They will reduce opportunities for waste crime, in particular fly-tipping which we estimated to affect 48% of NFU members in 2020.

Read what NFU Vice President David Exwood said about the government's plans to tackle waste crime. 

When waste is illegally tipped on privately owned land it is farmers and land managers who frequently have to face the consequences, with impacts on their businesses both in terms of time and money.

There are also risks to personal safety as well as biosecurity risks to livestock and crops as a result of having to dispose of waste, illegally dumped on their land from an unknown source.

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