SEIZING vehicles must become the default penalty for fly-tipping as part of tougher punishments for waste crime, according to the CLA.

The organisation, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has launched a five-point action plan that it believes should be adopted to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping blighting the countryside.

As well as seizing vehicles to act as a deterrent, the CLA recommends enforcing fines for home and business owners whose waste is found in fly-tipped locations.

It also proposes appointing a ‘Fly-Tipping Tsar’ to co-ordinate with national agencies to match the scale of fly tipping as an organised crime.

The CLA’s new proposals also include:

  • developing new ways to clear up and support victims so that private landowners are not held liable;
  • educating the public anti-social behaviour;
  • working in partnership to help reduce waste crime through best practice.

Results from a survey conducted by Farmers Weekly and CLA Insurance revealed that almost two-thirds of farmers and landowners have been affected by fly-tipping.

And over half agree it is a significant issue in their area.

Some 85 per cent have taken measures to protect their land such as installing gates or barriers, padlocking entrances and using CCTV, but only 13 per cent have insured their farm business against fly-tipping.

Most victims surveyed said they had been targeted on multiple occasions, around two to three times per month, and because private landowners are liable for the clean-up process they are spending on average £844 per incident.

Out of 936,000 fly-tipping incidents in 2015/2016, only 129 vehicles were seized, and out of 2,135 prosecutions only 77 fines of more than £1,000 were imposed, according to figures published by Defra earlier this year.

CLA South West director John Mortimer said: “Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime.

"Private landowners are fed up with clearing away other people’s rubbish – and then paying for the privilege of doing so, but if they don’t act, they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste.

It is not, he added, just the odd bin bag that is being fly-tipped but everything from commercial waste, builders’ waste and even hazardous waste – and all of it going on because the perpetrators know they can get away with it or face only a minimal deterrent.

“We need to see tougher penalties which act as a true deterrent.

"Seizing vehicles involved in fly-tipping and imposing and enforcing penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime is vital.

"Only through co-ordinated and collective effort can we push back against this scourge that is damaging our countryside and rural economy.”