ACTION is needed to cut fly-tipping cases which are still too high, says farm leaders and countryside campaigners.

The latest fly-tipping statistics released by Defra released today (Wed) show there were more than one million incidents on public land in 2022/23.

Farm leaders want to see council enforcement officers given enhanced police-style powers to tackle fly-tipping and littering.

Country Land and Business Association President Victoria Vyvyan said: “These fly-tipping figures barely scratch the surface of a crime that’s blighting rural communities, with incidents on private land going unrecorded on a mass scale.

"Farmers and landowners bear the cost of removing rubbish and they pay on average £1,000 to remove waste. This is not a victimless crime - in some cases they have paid up to £100,000 to clear up other people’s mess or risk facing prosecution themselves.

“It’s not just litter blotting the landscape, but tonnes of household and commercial waste which can often be hazardous – even including asbestos and chemicals – endangering farmers, wildlife, livestock, crops and the environment.

“While courts can sentence offenders to prison or unlimited fines, prosecutions are rare and criminals clearly do not fear the system. We are calling for local authorities to help clear fly-tipping incidents on private as well as public land, while the various enforcement agencies must be properly trained and resourced.Without more progress farmers, not the criminals, will continue to pay the price.”

National Farmers Union (NFU) vice president David Exwood said they believed the figure could be even higher with many cases going unrecorded. “This is affecting farmers' efforts to produce food and care for the environment but is also taking a huge toll emotionally and financially.

“It is good to see government taking the issue seriously and launching initiatives to combat the issue. These include increasing the maximum penalty for fly-tipping from £400 to £1000 as part of its Antisocial Behaviour Plan, funding a new fly-tipping post within the National Rural Crime Unit and abolishing charges for DIY waste to be disposed of at recycling centres – although some charges still apply and booking systems can mean lengthy waits.The NFU believes more can and should be done including better promoting the household duty of care. ”