A third of rural landowners and businesses have reported fly-tipping on their land in the past three years, but ignorance of the duty of care law contributes to the crime, according to the ’Right Waste, Right Place’ (RWRP) campaign.
Many of the 500 respondents to a RWRP telephone survey believed they were compliant with duty of care requirements, whereas its previous research found that only half were likely to be so.
This lack of understanding is said to be directly contributing to waste being illegally dumped in rural areas.
As well as fly-tipping, farmers and landowners can also be the victim of illegal waste operators using their land to store waste which is subsequently abandoned, leaving them with costly clean-up bills. This is estimated by landowners’ membership body the CLA to total £100m-£150m annually.
RWRP, established by the Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the Environmental Services Association (ESA) Education Trust, has launched tailored material aimed at increasing awareness among agriculture and land management businesses.
Sam Corp, ESA head of regulation, said the survey showed the consequences of agricultural businesses not doing the right thing with their waste.
“It is clear that, despite their vulnerability, many businesses are running the risk of inadvertently contributing to waste crime by believing they are complying with the legislation when the evidence is there that they are not. We believe this is a particular issue where the waste is handed from one party to another.”
Dr Colin Church, CIWM chief executive, said: “Being efficient yet diligent in the way waste is dealt with can lead to savings, environmental benefits and opportunities to diversify. The key is to fully understand the legislation and it appears that many do not.”
Nicky Cunningham, deputy director of waste regulation at the EA, said: “It is crucial that all businesses understand their duty of care responsibilities for the waste they produce. Too often, when these responsibilities are misunderstood or ignored, we see the impact of waste crime where waste is deliberately dumped on land with no permit.”
Writing for MRW, Ricardo principal consultant Victoria Hutchin said local authority charges at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) were not necessarily to blame for the rise in fly-tipping.
”Time will tell whether such charges have had an effect on residents’ behaviour and their use of HWRCs,” she said.
”However, there are many other factors which are likely to have contributed to the ongoing rise in the number of fly-tipping incidents including difficult business trading times; increased cost of legitimate waste disposal; crackdown by local authorities on illegal trade waste disposal; and blocking of cross-boundary use of HWRCs.”