The latest government fly-tipping statistics show the number of incidents local authorities dealt with in the year to March 2022 decreased by 4% to 1.09 million.
But with over a million incidents reported, this is still much higher than the figures recorded in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 and part of a concerning overall trend.
It is still disappointing that these figures do not include fly-tipping on private land, which has been reported as impacting almost two-thirds of farmers.
Concerning overall trend
NFU Environment Forum chair Richard Bramley said: “Although it’s good news that the number of fly-tipping incidents has gone down, over a million reported fly-tips is still way too high and part of a concerning overall upward trend over the past few years.
"Fly-tipping continues to plague the lives of so many of us living and working in the countryside and is something I witnessed first-hand recently when I had dozens of empty glass bottles dumped on my farm.
Industrial-scale amounts of rubbish
"But increasingly we’re also seeing industrial-scale amounts of rubbish, such as builders rubble and hazardous materials. This is affecting farmers' efforts to produce food and care for the environment but is also taking a huge toll emotionally and financially.
Urgent action needed
"The NFU continues to call for urgent action. This includes making it easier for the public to reduce and recycle waste, and properly punishing offenders who are caught dumping waste illegally."
NFU Environment Forum chair Richard Bramley
"The NFU continues to call for urgent action. This includes making it easier for the public to reduce and recycle waste, and properly punishing offenders who are caught dumping waste illegally with punitive fines, so they act as a deterrent.
“We also want to see a consistent approach across the country where police, government agencies and local authorities are working more closely together to tackle the problem.”
Root causes need tackling
With the government still not having responded to its consultation on changes to Household Waste Recycling Centres, the NFU is calling for greater action to address the root causes of fly-tipping.
The NFU believes the whole system needs to tackle fly-tipping at the source - from packaging design, recycling, landfill tax and tip opening hours - to make it easier for the public to reduce, re-use and recycle waste. Proportionate penalties as a deterrent to potential offenders, combined with more consistent enforcement measures, are key to addressing this issue.
The NFU welcomes the inclusion of small-scale fly-tipping incidents in the National Waste Crime Survey, which was released on 6 February 2023. We would encourage members to respond. The survey closes on 27 February 2023 at 10am.