With flytipping incidents rising to over one million incidents last year, FMIB’s Hannah Hubbard warns of the hidden financial and emotional cost of flytipping.
Flytipping is a scourge on the farming community and private land-owners, such as farmers, are suffering in silence.
New figures from Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) showed that 1,072,431 incidents of flytipping were dealt with by local authorities in the past year, an 8% rise on the 998,000 in 2017-18.
Of the one million incidents, 3,395 were reported as taking place on agricultural land last year – 121 more incidents than the previous year.
But the figures do not reflect true scale of flytipping on England’s farmland, as the DEFRA statistics exclude the majority of private-land incidents.
Furthermore, the burden of dumped rubbish falling squarely with farmers as they are liable for clearing it up at their own expense, or face prosecution.
According to the latest National Rural Crime Network, flytipping is now the most common crime experienced by ‘specific rural business owners’, mainly farmers.
For victims of flytipping the average financial impact to the business owner was over £1,000 a time.
Despite the increasing blight of flytipping, only a small number of farmers make claims for flytipping, as many have the kit and manpower to deal with such incidents.
But if a farmer’s land becomes a flytipping ‘hotspot’, costs can quickly escalate and the crime can soon turn from being a nuisance to crippling.
This is why sufficient protection is so important. Many combined farm insurance policies cover the cost of flytipping – generally around £5,000 per incident and capped at £15,000.
Although any farmer can fall victim to flytipping, there are preventative steps farmers can take to deter would-be flytippers from targeting their land.
Here are our top tips:
- Ensure that fields, particularly those by the roadside, are secure, with locked gates where possible.
- Create physical barriers, such as earth mounds, boulders and tree trunks, around the perimeter so that vehicles cannot gain access.
- Ensure good visibility, by cutting back hedges and installing exterior lighting in strategic areas.
- Consider installing CCTV, if the problem is persistent, with clear signage that CCTV is in operation.
- Consider installing motion-sensor security lighting at key points.
If you fall victim to flytipping:
- Do not approach flytippers in the act, as this can pose a safety risk.
- Be cautious of handling the waste, as it could be potentially hazardous. Thousands of the DEFRA incidents reported this year included asbestos, clinical, and chemical waste, which may need specialist treatment.
- Secure the waste, so that animals and the public are not exposed to potentially dangerous material, and also to discourage further flytipping.
- Record as much detail as possible, take photos and report the incident to your local council.
- Make sure that any rubbish dumped on your land is disposed of properly.
- Only use reputable, registered waste companies to help with disposal, and if you take the waste to a licenced waste site yourself, make sure you are registered as a waste carrier.
For more information on how we can help with your farm insurance needs, contact us on 01604 782782 or firstname.lastname@example.org .