An agricultural expert is warning of the ‘hidden cost’ of fly-tipping, after it was revealed that Northumberland County Council spent more than £100,000 cleaning it up over a 12-month period.
Newly-released figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show that there were 48,966 reported fly-tipping incidents in the North East between April 2016 and March 2017 and the clean-up cost for the region was £3.3million.
Although the number of incidents in Northumberland for this period, 2,030, was less than the 2,260 in 2015/16, it cost the county council £118,158 to deal with this illegal dumping of waste.
And Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn, director of Lycetts’ rural division in Newcastle, warns that these figures, as high as they seem, are not a true reflection of the cost of fly-tipping across the North East.
The DEFRA figures only account for the incidents on council land, not private land.
He said: “Farmers are well aware of this issue and are saddened by the visual impact it has on the countryside they maintain, as well as it being a nuisance and inconvenience.
“However, I don’t think that farmers are as aware that, should they fail to deal with incidences of fly-tipping on their land and it leads to environmental damage, they could be held liable under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.”
He added that farming businesses should ensure they have sufficient insurance protection, especially in the case of repeat fly-tipping offences.