Defra and the Welsh Government have launched a consultation on reducing fly-tipping, the impact of which often leave farmers with a costly clean-up process or the threat of legal action.
The key focus of the consultation involves the introduction of increased powers for control authorities to seize a vehicle and its contents if there are sufficient grounds for believing it has been used for illegal waste disposal.
Seizing a vehicle and its contents is already possible but the enforcement authority must obtain a warrant from a magistrate prior to taking such action.
Under new proposals, 15 working days is suggested as a suitable period for a local authority to retain a vehicle, balancing the needs of the local authority to properly investigate an offence with the rights of vehicle owners to reclaim their property. They are also proposing to remove the requirement to obtain a warrant before seizure.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) said that the proposed changes “should have a positive impact on the incidence of fly-tipping and hopefully act as a deterrent to those who commit such crimes”.
“As fly-tipping is an issue which impacts many of our members any deterrent would be welcomed,” added the union.
“However we need to ensure that these changes do not inadvertently impact members. Farmers who are unaware of their Duty of Care waste carrier responsibilities could get caught by the proposed enforcements. If these changes did come into force then they would need to be clearly communicated and pragmatically enforced by Local Authorities and the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales.”