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Gloucestershire Business News

Fly-tipping figures ‘fail to reflect full scale of crime’

The number of fly-tipping incidents across nine regions in the South West has soared in the past year, according to the latest figures.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said farmers and private landowners across the region are paying the price of this increasing rural crime.

According to the latest figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), across England there was a 4% decrease in the number of fly-tipping incidents reported in 2021/22. For the South West, there were 49,883 incidents (a decrease of 10.5%) for this period.

But many rural areas saw a big increase in the number of reported fly-tipping incidents, with Cotswold District Council seeing a 10% rise and Torridge District Council in Devon seeing a 38% increase.

To combat the problem, Cotswold District Council has recently installed cameras around the district in potential fly-tipping hotspots to capture any illegal activity such as a vehicle dumping waste.

The CLA South West - which represents the interest of farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset - says the figure is probably even higher, as incidences of fly-tipping on private land are not included in the official figures.

Mark Tufnell, CLA president, said: "Despite the overall decrease in incidences, these figures fail to reflect the full scale of the crime, as increasing reports of fly-tipping on private rural land are not included. Two-thirds of all farmers and landowners have at some stage been a victim.

"But hundreds of thousands of offences on private land are going unrecorded, as farmers often have so little faith in the ability of the police or council to deal with fly-tipping, that they simply bear the cost of removing rubbish themselves.

"It's not just the odd piece of litter blotting the landscape, but tonnes of household and commercial waste which can often be hazardous - even including asbestos and chemicals - risking the safety of people and animals. This often requires costly expert treatment to remove.

"Ministers should look urgently at increasing the penalties for convicted fly-tippers, and properly resource rural police forces to ensure they are held to account. Without more progress, landowners, not the criminals, will continue to pay the price."

The CLA introduced a five-point action plan to tackle fly-tipping, calling on local authorities, the Environment Agency and police forces to commit to stronger action against the increase of fly-tipping on private land and remove the landowners' liability to remove waste dumped on their property.

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