An agricultural expert is warning of the ‘hidden cost’ of flytipping after it was revealed Warwick District Council spends more than £30,000 on cleaning it up last year.
Newly-released figures from Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealed that more than one million incidents of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England in 2016-17, costing taxpayers nationally £58 million.
Every January, councils see a surge in flytipping, with rogue residents and traders dumping post-festive waste, including old Christmas trees.
But Rob Matthews, of farm insurance specialist Lycetts, warned that these figures are not a true reflection of the cost of flytipping across England.
Although the DEFRA figures show flytipping in Warwick district has gone down, costing them £30,343, they only account for flytipping incidents on council land, not private land.
Farmers who fall prey to this crime are having to shoulder the burden, responsible for meeting the cost of clearing rubbish from their land themselves – at an average cost of £1,000 per incident.
They are also liable if the dumped rubbish damages the countryside.
Rob said: “Farmers are well aware of this issue and are saddened by the visual impact it has on the countryside they maintain, as well as it being a nuisance and inconvenience when trying to get on with their normal, daily jobs.
“However, I don’t think that farmers are as aware that, should they fail to deal with incidents of flytipping on their land and it leads to environmental damage, they could be held liable under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
“With many authorities looking at introducing charges for bulky waste and organic waste collections and charging for dumping waste at council-run tips, there is a fear that flytipping incidents on farmland will increase.”