Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The number one environmental issue for farmers

Referring to a subject close to the heart of this Blog, "fly-tipping", government figures released today revealed that rubbish is illegally dumped in England every 35 seconds, costing £50 million a year to clean up. Much of the cost is borne by farmers, who are responsible for clearing up any rubbish dumped on their land.

Interviewed on Farming Today, Michael Oakes, a Birmingham farmer, confirmed that fly-tipping had got considerably worse, saying that fridges, cookers and tyres seemed to be a particular problem.

Martin Brocklehurst, from the Environment Agency, estimated that up to 24 percent of farmers had experienced fly-tipping. In areas of eastern England, more than half had been affected. "It is the number one environmental issue for farmers," he said.

Later in the morning, the Today Programme ran the story as a general news piece, flagging up that new legislation was going through Parliament to increase penalties and to give local authorities more powers to deal with fly-tippers.

But what neither programme did was in any way mention why fly-tipping should have become an epidemic – not a mention of the closure of tips and other measures to conform with the EU's landfill directive. Of course, one could not expect the BBC to explain to its listeners that this was yet another benefit of our membership of the EU.

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