On-farm fly-tipping 'as bad as ever', survey shows

Nearly half of the farmers surveyed warn that fly-tipping has got worse over the past five years
Nearly half of the farmers surveyed warn that fly-tipping has got worse over the past five years

A new farmer survey has revealed that fly-tipping is 'as bad as ever', with the crime to be put on a spotlight in tonight's Channel 4 Dispatches.

Results from the NFU's survey of 620 farmers will be highlighted during an edition of Dispatches: ‘Rubbish Tip Britain’ being aired this evening (21 June).

More than half (54%) said they had experienced small-scale fly-tipping on-farm, while over a quarter (30%) said they’d been hit by large-scale fly-tipping.

And nearly half of the farmers surveyed (48%) by the NFU warned that the problem had got worse over the past five years.

Some farmers said they had experienced battered old kitchen appliances, sofas and mattresses abandoned on their land, as well as industrial-scale amounts of toxic materials such as asbestos.

The NFU said the next government must treat rural crime as a priority, as fly-tipping was 'as bad as ever' and impacting farmers’ ability to produce food.

The survey comes after more than 19,000 people signed the union's letter to newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners last month urging them to make tackling rural crime a priority.

Responding to the growing issue of waste crime, NFU vice president Rachel Hallos explained that one farmer had reported 10 fridge freezers left in a gateway.

"It’s shocking and no exaggeration to say that fly-tipping is a constant blot on the landscape," she said.

"We have been working with production company Quicksilver Media on a special programme for Dispatches to demonstrate how fly-tipping and waste crime has become more organised and sophisticated.

"It will show how farmers’ and their families are being left to clean up the mess at great cost – both emotionally and financially.

"When viewers tune in this evening, they will see how soul-destroying it can be to have your home and workplace used as a dumping ground and the huge damage it causes."

For some time now, farming unions and groups have been making the case to politicians that action is desperately needed.

In the NFU’s election manifesto, aimed at all political parties, it highlights that rural crime, including fly-tipping, must be treated as a priority.

"We want to see a consistent and coordinated response across government, including fair funding for rural policing, a dedicated rural crime team in every police force in the country," Ms Hallos said.

“With concerted help and support from the next government and police forces, we can start to crack down on this continual blight on the nation."