A FARMING expert is warning of the hidden financial cost of fly-tipping, after 97,649 incidents were reported to Yorkshire and Humber councils in 2019.

According to Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – incidents of fly-tipping have increased by 13 per cent, with 10,952 more incidents reported than the previous year.

Ryedale farmers, however, reported a decrease of 53 fly-tipping incidents since 2018.

Tony Laking, of Farmers and Mercantile Insurance Brokers, warned this figure does not reflect the full scale of the problem for Yorkshire farmers as most cases on private land are unreported with victims left to organise the bill.

Tony said: “Councils spend millions every year on clean-up costs but private land-owners, such as farmers, are suffering in silence with little or no assistance.

“The burden of dumped rubbish falling squarely with farmers as they are liable for clearing it up at their own expense, or face prosecution.

“Moving the mess onto public land will not solve the issue, but exacerbate it, which farmers need to be mindful of.

“In one incident we encountered, a farmer was unwittingly branded a fly-tipper after falling victim to the crime.

“After finding tyres dumped over his hedge, he moved them on the other side of the hedgerow and informed the authorities.

“Although the waste was collected, he was slapped with a prosecution order for fly-tipping.”

According to the latest National Rural Crime Network, fly-tipping is now the most common crime experienced by farmers.

For victims of fly-tipping the average financial impact to the business owner was more than £1,000 a time.

Stressing the importance of enough protection for farming businesses, Tony said there a several prevention steps farmers can take to deter fly-tippers.

Tony added: “Farmers are already faced with a myriad of difficulties from economic uncertainty to market volatility; having to fork out dealing with someone else’s mess just compounds these stresses.

“Thousands of the DEFRA incidents reported this year included asbestos, clinical, and chemical waste which need specialist treatment.

“Make sure that any rubbish dumped on your land is disposed of properly.

“Only use reputable, registered waste companies to help with disposal, and if you take the waste to a licensed waste site yourself, make sure you are registered as a waste carrier.”