SHOCKING figures reveal that fly-tipping incidents have increased by 50 percent across the country.

Farm leaders and experts claim some farmers and landowners are now seeing rubbish tipped on their land on a daily basis.

Images of thousands of tonnes of rubbish blighting the great British countryside highlight the true scale of fly-tipping, the National Farmers Union said.

Large scale co-ordinated dumping is now a regular occurrence with photos sent to the NFU showing it’s not just large domestic items such as washing machines, fridges, sofas, mattresses and furniture, but also clinical waste and rubbish from construction and demolition.

Under the current rules farmers and landowners are left facing hefty bills to remove vast amounts of rubbish dumped illegally on their land.

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said the solution was better collaboration between all those affected parties.

“Fly-tipping is the scourge of the countryside - clearly we are disappointed that the number of fly-tipping incidents has increased,” she said.

Paul Graham, Managing Director of H&H Insurance Brokers, based in Carlisle, warns of the negative and distressing impact this is having and explains: “I know that many farmers have already spent precious time setting up measures to protect their land against illegal waste disposal, but fly-tipping is currently on the increase so they need to be extra vigilant. Coronavirus, is exacerbating the problem and many are finding unscrupulous parties have dumped waste on their farmland. Given the lock down is far from over, I would not expect this to change overnight.”

Due to social distancing guidelines, councils had been forced to close waste and recycling centres.

“As people start their spring cleaning and garden clearances ready for the summer months, this is a key time of the year for farmers to experience increased illegal waste disposal on their land. However, with less options for waste disposal, farmers and landowners will inevitably bear the brunt of this criminal activity," says Paul.

"If you are on the receiving end of illegally dumped waste, it is advisable to clear it as early as possible. The waste could be contaminated and would be your responsibility if harm was caused to another. If contaminated waste is removed incorrectly it could lead to action being taken by the Environment Agency. This means that before removing any waste, it is always worth doing a risk assessment first to ensure that removal is safe and within regulations. However tempting it may be to push the waste off your land and onto the Council’s, no matter how aggrieved you are, refrain, otherwise you are fly-tipping and could be held liable for another’s crime."

Paul urges farmers to review access to their land and put some simple preventative measures in place to stop fly-tippers and perhaps even working with neighbouring landowners on a wide-scale ‘Neighbourhood Watch Scheme’.

This includes securing access points with fences, gates and logs and reducing visibility so fly-tippers can’t work unnoticed. Installing CCTV along with clear warning signage can also have a positive impact. “We need to ensure that farmers and indeed councils are not left with a greater problem than we already have with a global pandemic. The answer is obviously for fly tippers to stop but sadly this is unlikely.