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Fly Tipping – responsibility and insurance

Our iconic British rural landscape is sadly increasingly blighted by dumped fridges, sofas or heaped black bin bags. Although fly tipping is certainly not a new phenomenon the number of incidents is rapidly rising and this is causing a considerable financial burden on local councils, landowners and occupiers.

The most recent DEFRA survey on fly tipping indicated an annual increase of over 4% of reported cases across England, together with a National Statistics survey demonstrating a 14% increase of cases across Wales.  It is estimated that the cost to English Councils to clear fly tipping was £49.8 million in the 2015/16 financial year[1]; the estimated cost to private landowners is between £50-150 million[2].

The law surrounding the duty of care to dispose of fly tipping is clear, with Councils having a responsibility for areas known as “relevant land”. This is defined as land where all three of the following apply: Open to the air on at least one side; under direct control of the council; publicly accessible -with or without payment.

Landowners and occupiers are therefore responsible to remove all waste outside of “relevant land”.  Council’s and the Environment Agency do have the ability to serve notice on landowners to clear fly tipped waste within a specified time, or to remove the waste and seek reimbursement.  With the law in mind it is not surprising that the NFU estimate that two thirds of all farmers have been affected by fly tipping, or that the cost for disposing of waste on private land far eclipses the costs to local authorities. 

As you might anticipate the predominant instances of fly tipping on private land are in areas close to urban conurbations.  Land or buildings with little or no security and are easily accessible; particularly farm tracks, yards and open gateways are attractive prospects to any fly tipper. 

Therefore making sites secure is, of course, a considerable deterrent. However with ever increasing cost to legally dispose of waste persistence to illegally dispose is escalating too.  A number of insurers do provide fly tipping cover and it is worth investigating should you be concerned that you are in an area where instances are prevalent.  Frances Steer is an associate land agent with Balfours, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/595773/Flytipping_201516_statistical_release.pdf

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05672/SN05672.pdf

 

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