Fly-tipping is defined as the illegal dumping of waste, the scale of which can vary between a few bin-bags to an entire truckload. This a growing problem in the UK and the motivations behind the crime can’t always be clearly determined. It could be due to a desire to save money, a lack of waste disposal facilities available to the perpetrator or simply wanting to relocate their problem waste for someone else to deal with.
Who has to deal with the waste?
Farmers and landowners are increasingly agitated by this issue and are calling upon the government to do more about it. One of their biggest concerns is that the government will clear up public land however they will not help those who suffer the crime on private land, instead stating it is the responsibility of the landowners themselves to clear up.
Worse still, those affected could then be personally penalised if they refuse to clean up the waste left on their land, sometimes finding themselves subject to court proceedings initiated by the Environment Agency (EA).
The average cost for a clean-up is around £1000 however if the landowner is taken to court for the presence of the waste, they could be liable to pay a lot more in defence, investigation and compensation costs.
The government have suggested measures to tackle the issue including harsher penalties and victim support. At the moment, however, farmers and landowners need to find their own ways to protect their land from the threat of fly-tipping.
- Ensure that the access points to your land are secured using fences, gates and logs
- Attempt to improve visibility so fly-tippers can’t work unnoticed
- Implement CCTV across your land and warn away potential fly-tippers with clear signage
- Speak with your surrounding landowners/neighbours to implement a wide-scale ‘Neighbourhood Watch Scheme’
- Remove waste quickly and correctly
- Be aware of contaminated waste and how you remove it. If you do so incorrectly, you may be at risk from EA liability action
- Don’t be tempted to move the waste onto the roadside, no matter how aggrieved you are. This is considered as fly-tipping in itself. You don’t want to be held accountable for someone else’s crime
- Consider patrolling your grounds at vulnerable periods, or hire someone to help
- Report it immediately to the relevant authority
Before you clear up any waste, ensure to conduct a full risk assessment to ensure you’re not at harm from the waste and determine if you need any specialist protective equipment during the clean-up. It may sometimes be necessary to hire specialist contractors dependent on the nature of the waste.
At NC Insurance we understand that fly-tipping can be unbearably frustrating for farmers and landowners who are forced into a corner to clean up someone else’s mess. Some property owners insurance policies will include cover for the removal of items that have been fly-tipped so we’d recommend checking with your insurance provider to see if your current policy includes this cover. If it doesn’t give us a call and ask for a property owners insurance quote.
For more information on growing your small business, read our blog post: Finding your niche: The key to small business enterprise.