Fly-tipping headache for N Walsham farmer

A Norfolk farmer is angry after being landed with a big bill for clearing dumped fridges from his land.The unwanted crop of 22 old chillers was tipped on a track at David Moore's family farm near North Walsham.

A Norfolk farmer is angry after being landed with a big bill for clearing dumped fridges from his land.

The unwanted crop of 22 old chillers was tipped on a track at David Moore's family farm near North Walsham.

He is used to finding rubbish, especially car tyres, thrown into fields and ditches.

But the mountain of white goods was the worst instance yet and could cost him up �800 to clean up.

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Mr Moore is angry that innocent landowners are left picking up the tab for fly-tippers, and fears things could get worse if a tightening economy sees more people using cheap, but unofficial 'man with a van' operators to get rid of their rubbish.

It is a view shared by the CLA country landowners organisation, which is lobbying the government give farmers dispensation to take fly-tipped material to recycling centres without having to pay the standard charges.

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But Norfolk waste officials say the number of reported fly-tipping incidents has actually fallen over the past three years - helped by its centres handling a wider range of materials.

Mr Moore, whose family has worked the 300 acres of arable land at Manor Farm, Trunch, for three generations said they regularly cleared up tyres, bed heads and garden rubbish, but it was a small problem set against the experience of farming friends inside the M25 who had 'three or four cars a day dumping fridges, asbestos and brick rubble.'

He had looked into his insurance, but with a �5,000 excess, it was better to pay the �800 clear up cost. However he and his father were angry they were having to foot the bill for the actions of others.

CLA regional spokesman Sally Smith said country landowners had a 'constant battle' with fly-tippers. Once rubbish - including old cars and DIY waste - was on the land it became the responsibility of the landowner.

'It is totally unfair and completely wrong. Things have been bad for the past few years, since rules at tips became more stringent,' she added.

It was a bigger problem in arable farm areas, such as East Anglia, where it was easier to get on the land, than it was on livestock land which had more gates and fences - and did not help the impression given to tourists.

The association had been campaigning to get special dispensation for farmers to take fly-tipped rubbish to waste centres without charge, but was having to start again because of a change of government minister.

Norfolk County Council said fly-tipping incidents had reduced over the past three years, because of increased scope for recycling at its centres, and there were no signs of a change because of the economic downturn.

North Norfolk District Council's environment protection team leader Mark Whitmore said the council was also saddled with the bill for clearing fly tipped waste off public land and the highway, so he sympathised with private landowners.

The local number of fly tipping reports was down on last year, while enforcement action against offenders was up. One in eight cases was being brought to justice through warnings, instant fines, or court actions which could result in a maximum penalty of a �50,000 fine or six months jail.

The public could help by reporting suspicious people and trucks to their local district council, which was the enforcement authority, on 01263 513811.

Anyone paying for large amounts of waste to be taken away should check the business doing it was registered and was prepared to give out official paperwork showing details of the load and the company. Check through the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506 or its website

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