FLYTIPPING cost Cheshire East Council more than £182,000 on clearing up the mess in 2016/17, according to new figures.

The figures from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed there were 3,037 reported incidents across the area that year, up from 2,879 in 2015/16.

An agricultural expert is warning of the ‘hidden cost’ of fly-tipping, after it was revealed that councils had spent more than £9 million on cleaning up the north west in just 12 months.

Newly-released figures from DEFRA revealed that more than one million incidents of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England in 2016/17, costing taxpayers nationally £58 million to clear up.

On a regional level, there were 128,193 reported fly-tipping incidents in the north west between April 2016 and March 2017 – an increase of nine per cent on last year.

The clean-up cost to taxpayers in the north west totalled £9,247,374.

William Nicholl, head of insurance specialist Lycetts’ rural division, warns that these figures, as high as they seem, are not a true reflection of the cost of fly-tipping across the North West.

The DEFRA figures only account for fly-tipping incidents on council land, not private land.

Farmers who fall prey to this crime are having to shoulder the burden, responsible for meeting the cost of clearing rubbish from their land themselves – at an average cost of £1,000 per incident. They are also liable if the dumped rubbish damages the countryside.

William said: “I don’t think farmers are as aware that, should they fail to deal with incidences of flytipping on their land and it leads to environmental damage, they could be held liable under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

He outlined ways farmers could help protect themselves against flytippers.

“Be vigilant, communicate with neighbours and report suspicious vehicles to the authorities,” he said.

“Consult with your insurance broker, to see what cover is afforded to you in the event of an incident, and check with your local council, who may have schemes to assist with the removal of waste.

“Deter would-be flytippers by ensuring that fields, particularly those which are roadside, are gated and locked where possible.

“If the problem persists, consider setting up security lights and a camera. This will help provide crucial evidence should the council decide to investigate.

“Make sure any rubbish dumped on your land is disposed of properly. By failing to remove the waste or moving it on to public land, you will leave yourself open to prosecution and could face fines of tens of thousands of pounds.”