Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report


  1.  As part of the Tidy Britain Group survey in 1998 on the impacts of the Landfill Tax, the NFU carried out a detailed survey amongst farmers and growers. Approximately 55 per cent of the farming respondents thought that the increase in fly-tipping was due to the increase in landfill tax.


  We were asked by the Committee to provide information on cases where local councils have not removed fly-tipped material. Without a comprehensive national survey we feel that it would be inappropriate to identify individual local authorities that have a particularly poor track record in dealing with the problems of fly-tipping. However, the following case studies are offered as illustrations of the kinds of problems faced by farmers and landowners who become victims of fly-tipping.

  On one farm in Essex, 1,000—1,500 tyres were dumped earlier this year. The local council estimated that the costs of removal would be 75p per tyre.

  For another farmer in Nottinghamshire, about eight tons of tyres and three loads of builders rubble were dumped in one of his fields between July and August and two of his gateways were blocked with rubbish a few weeks following this.

  In another case, five x seven tonne van-loads of tyres were tipped on a SSSI in Essex during October last year. The landowner initially discovered two loads of tyres. Over the next three days, a load of tyres was tipped daily.


  Under section 33 (1) the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence to deposit controlled waste on land unless with a waste management licence. Section 59(7)(c) of the same Act states that:

    "If it appears to a waste regulation authority or waste collection authority that waste has been deposited in or on any land in contravention of section 33(1) above and that-

  ..(c)the occupier neither made nor knowingly permitted the deposit of the waste; the authority may remove the waste from the land or take other steps to eliminate or reduce the consequences of the deposit or, as the case may require, to remove the waste and take those steps".

  As the waste regulation authority or the waste collection authority, the Environment Agency or the local authority has the power (but not a duty) to remove fly-tipped wastes.

  Where fly-tipping incidents have been reported, the local authority or the Environment Agency has the discretion to remove that material.


  Past research carried out by MAFF has acknowledged that anaerobic digestion has a role in farm waste management but its potential is limited by high capital costs and difficulties in marketing by-products. This was reported in the Government response to The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution report on Sustainable Use of Soil (1996).


  We were invited to comment on the impact on fly-tipping of an increase to £30/t in the landfill tax. We are concerned that such an increase could lead to a substantial rise in fly-tipping activity in the countryside. This would impact directly on farmers who under current practices, would be required by local authorities to clear up much of the increased quantity of material deposited. Farmers would also then have to pay the increased level of landfill tax which gave rise to the additional material in the first place.

  The opportunity exists to utilise a proportion of the revenue raised by the landfill tax to fund the proper disposal of fly-tipped material. Clearly it is preferable to impose the costs on offenders wherever possible, but unfortunately few fly-tippers are ever apprehended. What is unjust is to expect the unfortunate victims to fund the proper disposal of fly-tipped material. There is a strong argument that public funds raised by the landfill tax, which has in any case generated at least a proportion of fly-tipping, should be used to relieve the burden which is currently being placed—quite unjustly—on individuals such as farmers.

November 2000

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