Tougher penalties needed to stop New Forest fly-tipping, say landowners

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Rubbish fly-tipped in the New Forest

TOUGHER penalties are needed to stop the rise of fly-tipping in the New Forest, landowners have said.

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The latest official report from Defra showed that between 2012/13 and 2017/18, incidents on public land in the district went up from 742 to 858 – a growth of nearly 16%.

The latest numbers were an improvement on the previous year of 2016/17, however, when there were 979 instances of waste being illegally dumped.

The figures led to calls by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) for stronger enforcement of the law to help combat rubbish being left in the countryside.

Clear-up costs were not available for 2017/18 but between 2012/13 and 2016/17 in the New Forest the disposal bill escalated nearly 18% from £55,195 to £65,109.

The CLA said the true figures for fly-tipping were likely to be significantly higher as the statistics did not include private land, where it was estimated each incident cost the landowner an average £844.

Robin Edwards, regional director of CLA South East, which covers Hampshire, said: “Private landowners are liable for any waste dumped on their land and are fed up of having to clear up other people’s mess, and paying for the privilege.

“It is vital that more prosecutions are brought forward successfully to encourage people to do the right thing and dispose of their rubbish through proper legal channels. Councils must send a clear message to fly-tippers that they will face financial consequences.”

He added: “But to really combat this crime against the countryside we need to see tougher penalties which act as a true deterrent. Imposing and enforcing stiffer penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime is crucial, along with seizing the vehicles used to fly-tip.”

NFDC, which is responsible for clearing up fly-tipping on public land, pointed to the 12% reduction between 2016/17 and 2017/18 as evidence of “positive results from the country-wide approach to tackling the issue”.

A spokesperson described the issue as a “significant concern”, and said: “Improvements to reporting and intelligence on fly-tipping incidences have been key with reducing numbers and resulted in prosecution of the perpetrators.

“We have the power to take action against both the individuals who fly-tip and the householder or business giving the instruction to remove the waste.

“We encourage anyone with information regarding any fly-tipping incidents to contact us at customer.servces@nfdc.gov.uk or on 023 8028 5000.”

As reported in the A&T, in October 2016 Hampshire County Council introduced fees in October 2016 for discarding certain types of domestic DIY waste including soil, rubble and plasterboard at household waste recycling centres, such as at Marchwood, and Efford in Lymington.

Cllr Rob Humby, HCC’s cabinet member for environment and transport, calculated the total of about 23,000 fly-tipping reports in Hampshire during the 2017/18 was a drop on the previous year, although he did not say by how much.

He said: “I’m pleased to see that the trend of the amount of fly-tipped waste on public land in Hampshire continues to go down, and the number of successful prosecutions remains strong.

“We’re sending out a clear message in Hampshire that fly-tipping will not be tolerated here.”

The fly-tipping situation in Christchurch showed as improvement as cases between 2012/13 and 2017/18 fell from 522 to 282. The clear-up bill between 2012/13 and 2016/17 shrank from £31,276 to £15,241.

Across England as a whole, fly-tipping instances between 2012/13 and 2017/18 grew from 714,637 to 997,553.

Combined clear-up costs between 2012/13 and 2016/17 went up from just under £36.6m to nearly £58m.

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