Fly tipping - farmers' union calls for urgent action as cases surge - in Banburyshire cases have been high for 'a long time'

Council leaders in the Banbury area have given a reminder about fines of up to £50,000 or a year in prison for fly-tipping as reported cases surge.
Fly-tipping is on the increase - quiet country lanes and farm gateways are often used by people dumping unwanted rubbish Picture by GettyFly-tipping is on the increase - quiet country lanes and farm gateways are often used by people dumping unwanted rubbish Picture by Getty
Fly-tipping is on the increase - quiet country lanes and farm gateways are often used by people dumping unwanted rubbish Picture by Getty

It’s not just the odd bin bag but old kitchen appliances, sofas and industrial-scale amounts of rubbish, such as builder’s rubble and hazardous materials, says the National Farmers' Union (NFU).

The Cherwell reminder came as the NFU called for urgent action into fly-tipping on farmland. Cases rose to 1.13m reports in the latest figures, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous 12 months. At the same time, the number of fixed penalty notices and fines handed out is down year-on-year.

Cherwell District Council said fly tipping reports in the district have been running at a high rate for some time.

"Illegal waste disposal in a public place is an offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment if convicted in a magistrates' court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years' imprisonment for perpetrators convicted in a crown court," said a spokesman.

The NFU says government, local authorities, police and the Environment Agency need to work better together on sharing information to ensure more offenders are being prosecuted.

The union says adequate punishments that deter criminals dumping waste illegally and easier ways for the public to recycle rubbish will also help in the fight against fly-tipping which continues to have a devastating impact on farming businesses and rural communities.

Responding to the latest government figures, NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “These figures are incredibly disappointing, particularly when the number of local authority enforcement actions, fixed penalty notices and fines handed out by the courts to offenders are all down.

"It also confirms what we heard from our members during the first lockdown that fly-tipping incidents spiralled out of control, particularly when waste and recycling centres closed.

Fly-tipping continues to plague the lives of many of us living and working in the countryside. It’s not just the odd bin bag but old kitchen appliances, sofas and industrial-scale amounts of rubbish, such as builder’s rubble and hazardous materials. This affects farmers working hard to produce food and care for the environment, but it also takes a huge toll emotionally and financially and impacts on mental health.

“Significant progress needs to be made to stop it from happening. Let’s start by properly punishing those offenders who are caught dumping waste illegally with punitive fines, so they act as a deterrent.

“It’s crucial that police, government agencies and local authorities work more closely together to tackle the problem by sharing information to ensure more offenders are being prosecuted. In some areas these relationships work well but we need to see a more consistent approach across the whole country.”

“There is also a role for all of us in our own homes to recycle more and dispose of our waste responsibly. Better education for householders about legal obligations when disposing of rubbish can help make people aware of their responsibilities.”