Almost a third (30%) of agricultural businesses and rural land owners across the North East, Yorkshire and Humber have had illegal waste dumped on their land in the last three years, according to new research commissioned by ‘right Waste, right Place’.
The research follows a warning from the Environment Agency not to be duped into storing waste on their land after a spate of incidents across the region. Just last month, waste criminals dumped 600 bales of general waste on private land in Tow Law, County Durham.
Businesses, particularly those in rural areas, are targeted by criminals looking to dispose of waste illegally by dumping it in warehouses, mills and open spaces. These criminals can be persuasive, convincing landowners to give them access to property, which they then fill with waste and abandon, leaving the landowner with an expensive clearance bill.
According to the research, more than half of those in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber who have been affected by fly-tipping in the last three years disposed of the waste themselves. Just 16 percent called the police.
Jamie Fletcher, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
Landowners can take steps to protect themselves, such as carrying out suitable checks and due diligence before allowing anyone to use their buildings or property. And if they do fall prey I would urge them to report it.
Waste criminals can cause serious pollution and put communities at risk. The more information we have about these criminals and where the waste comes from, the more likely we can find and prosecute those responsible.
Waste stored inappropriately can create issues for neighbours through smells and pests. It can also have a detrimental effect on the environment and impact on rivers and streams. There is a high risk of waste fires due to the waste not being stored in the correct manner.
The Environment Agency is working with landowners, the fire service, local councils and the Police to ensure the waste is removed safely, minimising the risk of fire and impact on people, and bringing culprits to justice.
Anyone suspicious of any illegal activity, approached to store such waste or currently storing such waste is urged to contact the Environment Agency’s 24 hour incident hotline 0800 807060. Alternatively they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.