NFU responds to the Public Accounts Committee on waste crime

15 June 2022

Rural crime
A huge pile of illegally dumped waste on farmland

NFU responds to the Public Accounts Committee on waste crime, asking for consistency across the whole country.

We have made a submission to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry on government actions to combat waste crime.

Many forms of illegal waste

Farmers and land managers are often the victims of waste crime. The scale of the incidents can differ, and these crimes can take many forms including fly-tipping, the illegal dumping of waste, the illegal storage of waste and the mis-describing wastes under the guise of landspreading for agronomic benefit.  

Not only can waste crime be costly and time-consuming to remove, but it can also be dangerous to human health, wildlife and livestock and in some cases pollute watercourses and contaminate land.  

This is affecting farmers working hard to produce food and care for the environment but it is also taking a huge toll financially and has an impact on emotional and mental health.

NFU response

We responded to the call for evidence in June, with the following asks of government:

  • A much better understanding of the extent and impact of waste crime. Better reporting and recording of the range of waste crime incidents on private land, including on agricultural land, is urgently needed.
  • Effective punishments that deter criminals dumping waste illegally. We are calling on government to help develop further guidance to ensure those with prosecution powers are able to deliver effective punishments.
  • A single reporting mechanism to be developed so that farmers/land managers only have to report a fly-tipping incident once. Currently victims may have to report incidents to multiple authorities, which is time-consuming, often confusing and frustrating.
  • Government and the waste sector to raise awareness about the Householder Duty of Care. Householders need to be made more aware that responsibility for any of their waste is maintained through to its final disposal point – not when they pass it to a third party.
  • All parties (local authorities/police/land managers/the Environment Agency) to work together on this issue including prevention, clean up and prosecution. In some areas this relationship works well. However, we want consistency in approach across the whole country.

The Committee will be questioning senior officials at Defra, the Environment Agency and HMRC on the levels of waste crime being committed, what’s being done to tackle it and what it’s all costing.


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