Farmers across the UK are struggling to cope with an epidemic of flytipping that is leaving fields full of unwanted junk and rubbish that could have been safely and responsibly disposed of at local licensed tips. The National Farmers Union released statistics showing that there were 711,000 incidents of flytipping in England alone in the year 2012-13. This works out as once every 44 seconds.
Many farmers have suffered repeated problems, with people dumping unwanted rubbish on their land many times. The problem appears to be particularly bad in the southeast of the country. One farmer near St Albans told the BBC that he was finding items dumped on his land about three times a week, largely because his farm was one of the first pieces of open land on a major route out of the town.
Clearly, the problem is much bigger than just a few people dumping their own rubbish without thinking about the consequences. Farmers can wake up to find several truckloads of rubbish has appeared in their fields overnight, since there are actually “professional” rubbish removers who are taking people’s money to dispose of their junk and then just dumping it as soon as they get out of town.
The NFU is now calling for people to take more care by selecting a licensed rubbish removal service rather than handing their money over to these flytippers. Many of the items that have been dumped on farmland could actually have been donated to local charity shops to raise money for good causes while making a new owner happy. Other types of rubbish could have been recycled rather than dumped, and used to produce more environmentally friendly new products. Even the rubbish that could not have been reused or recycled could have been treated better. Licensed disposal sites could have ensured that rubbish which posed a threat to health or the environment was treated appropriately. Farmers have found material such as asbestos and electrical waste that needs to be disposed of carefully in order to avoid risks to people, livestock and wildlife. All of these actions could have been taken to protect the environment if this waste had been handed over to a licensed company.