Fly-tipping 'tidal wave' as councils struggle to prosecute perpetrators

  • Farmer Richard Cornock spoke to ITV News West Country about the impact of fly-tipping

A dairy farmer from South Gloucestershire has described the rise in fly-tipping as 'a tidal wave' as local authorities struggle to prosecute those responsible.

Across the South West, fly-tipping incidents rose to nearly 50,000 last year with only 3.5% of those leading to fines or prosecutions according to government figures.

Richard Cornock who has farmed in Tytherington for forty years says the issue is getting worse, affecting his business and putting livestock at risk.

Mr Cornock said: "What's changed in that time is that now I'm seeing all sorts of refuse, trailer loads of tyres, a kitchen, even a sofa. It's become almost like a tidal wave and you clear out but then another month later there's more rubbish."

Under the Youtube account 'The Funky Farmer', Mr Cornock films incidents of fly-tipping and posts them online. In one instance an entire kitchen can be seen scattered across one of his fields.

"As I walked round the corner I could not believe the devastation, it was just a sea of filth." said Mr Cornock.

The mess left by flytippers on Richard Cornock's land. Credit: Richard Cornock

The law says that it is the landowner's responsibility to dispose of the rubbish left by fly-tippers. Hattie Severinsen, from the National Farmers' Union (NFU), believes farmers should not be left to clean up the mess.

She said: "Fly-tipping is a huge issue for farmers and it should not be there responsibility to prevent it.

"It is the household's responsibility that if they are disposing of waste, they do so using licensed companies. They can check this on the government website."

The NFU estimates two thirds of farmers have been affected by fly-tipping, with the government describing the practice as 'inexcusable'.

In South Gloucestershire last year only 1% of the 1800 incidents were prosecuted, although the council says it did successfully track down repeat offenders. It adds there are huge challenges in rural areas with a lack of CCTV and witnesses.

South Gloucestershire Council says: “Fly-tipping is completely unacceptable and can blight local communities and the countryside, causing an environmental hazard and harming nature.

"We encourage our residents to report incidents of fly-tipping so they can be thoroughly investigated, and where evidence allows, we will bring those who have committed offences before the courts.

"We always pursue fly-tip related prosecutions through the courts and our award-winning environmental enforcement team has a 100 per cent record of securing successful prosecutions for this type of offence.

“Although it is the landowner’s responsibility to clear fly-tipped waste from private land, we investigate these incidents and do our best to recover compensation through the courts if a perpetrator is prosecuted as a result.

"Our advice to farmers and other private landowners is to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the Police. We also advise them to do their best to ensure their land is secure so only those with permission can gain access."