Region's fly tipping bill tops the £3m mark

North East councils spent more than £3million cleaning up fly-tipping in just 12 months.

Saturday, 13th January 2018, 7:32 am

New Defra figures show that there were 48,966 reported incidents in the region between April 2016 and March 2017 – 899 more than the previous year.

The worst hit area was Gateshead, with 11,826 incidents. In Northumberlannd, there were 2,030 incidents in 2016/17 (compared to 2,260 in 2015/16) costing £118,158 to clear up.

Nationally, more than one million fly-tipping incidents were dealt with by councils in 2016-17, costing £58million.

But Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn, director of Lycetts’ rural division in Newcastle, warns that these figures are not a true reflection of the cost of fly-tipping across the North East, as the Defra figures only account for fly tipping on council land, not private land. He said that farmers who fall prey to this crime are having to shoulder the burden.

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They are responsible for meeting the cost of clearing rubbish from their land themselves – at an average cost of £1,000 per incident. They are also liable if the dumped rubbish damages the countryside.

He added: “With many authorities looking at introducing charges for bulky waste and organic waste collections and charging for dumping waste at council-run tips, there is a fear that flytipping incidents on farmland will increase.”

He stressed the importance of having sufficient protection for farming businesses, particularly in the case of repeat offences. He added that many combined farm insurance policies cover the cost of fly tipping, generally around £5,000 per incident and capped at £15,000.