Agriculture: Can England help us reverse the illegal dumping trend? -Brian Henderson

I have no idea how many responses they received, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was quite a sizable number, judging not only by the amount of trash you see dumped in this beautiful country, but also by the number of press releases on the issues that have crossed my desk over the past few years.

Not a month goes by without one organization or another expressing just indignation at this cruel offense which, as all the press releases say, is a real scourge on the countryside.

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And sadly, it’s the one that can land any poor farmer or landowner with a huge bill to pay for any clean-up required – because not all advice is comprehensive enough to help, even when it gets ugly. is a truck full of asbestos sheets or a van. -full of meat processing waste which is not only potentially hazardous but also requires specialist waste disposal companies to deal with it – at considerable cost.

DIY rubbish dumped in the countryside

I also have no idea what was included in some of these answers, but I could assume that some of them wouldn’t be newsworthy in this or any other polite journal.

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The small family farm has become a political cliché – Andrew Arbuckle

Much of the consultation seemed to revolve around driving behavior change – which sounds good, but I suspect that many of the worst cases of fly spills are committed by cold-hearted commercial operators who are likely to be paid to take the stuff away from people’s homes or small businesses, then avoid any cost at the other end by simply dumping it in a field gate or roadside.

Waste criminals profit at the expense of legitimate businesses, undermining them by not paying to dispose of waste at approved sites and competing unfairly. This can often lead to large-scale fly dumping, especially in rural areas.

One thought struck me and that is to change the terminology – as I can’t help but think that “flying unloading” falls far short of a fair description of the offence, taking with it a bit of “nudge-nudge, wink, say no more guv”, sort of dodgy dealer image, like Dell-Boy intent on committing a few petty, victimless rule violations .

There are still calls for fines to be increased to further deter such activity – but at the moment if someone is found guilty of the offense they can face a fixed fine of a few hundred pounds, or could potentially be sentenced to jail and risk a fine of up to £40,000.

So if used to its fullest extent, there is already a strong deterrent there. But what’s interesting is the fact that while crime seemed to increase massively during the Covid lockdown period when municipal waste collection centers were closed (and many people were spending their time forced at home catching up the DIY jobs they had promised to do since they moved, producing much of the dumped waste), the number of lawsuits plummeted.

Official figures show that while in 2014/15 there were 18 prosecutions, of which 13 were successful, in the pandemic year 2019/20 there were only two.

Fair enough, beleaguered police forces are busy with other things, many of which might be deemed more important in the immediate term, especially when it is difficult to achieve the level of evidence required to enforce a conviction when the crime is often committed in remote areas. and under cover of darkness.

But perhaps lawmakers should take a look south of the border.

For England, too, there is a crackdown on fly tipping, with new crackdown proposals published today.

And a major initiative that could actually make a huge difference would drive behavior change in the most basic way possible – appealing to the pockets of the general public.

Under the new plans, removing local authorities’ right to charge for the collection of do-it-yourself waste such as plasterboard, bricks and old bathtubs – which account for around two-thirds of all dumping incidents – will mean that households will no longer have to pay to get rid of the waste created by their home improvement projects.

Admittedly, this could lead to additional costs – but if it reduced the £46m it costs councils to clean up rubbish, not to mention the costs to landowners, it could be money well spent .​​​​​​​

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About Keneth T. Graves

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