A FRUSTRATED farmer says reporting fly-tipping on agricultural land to councils is “futile”.

Statistics from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have revealed 408 fly-tipping incidents took place on farm land this year in the East of England.

This is a 6 per cent increase from the 368 incidents the previous year.

The figures revealed there were 718 fly-tipping incidents reported in Tendring last year, but no reports of fly-tipping on agricultural land in the district.

In Colchester there were 2,056 reported cases of fly-tipping last year, but also none reported on farm land.

But a farmer from Great Oakley, who asked not to be named, warned these figures do not reflect the full scale of the problem as most cases on private land go unreported with victims left to pay the clean-up bill.

He said he has “given up” reporting fly-tipping to Tendring Council.

He said: “I have had a couple of incidents of fly-tipping and both times fly-tipping has occurred in the gateway to the farm.

“Tendring Council has a waste service, but it was unable to help as the fly-tipping was just off the road.”

One of the incidents involved bathroom items being dumped on his land about three weeks ago.

He added: “In both cases, the council could not help as the rubbish was not on a public highway.

“It’s just ridiculous.”

Viv Vivers, of Farmers and Mercantile Insurance Brokers (FMIB), said farmers are already faced with difficulties, from economic uncertainty to market volatility, and having to fork out dealing with someone else’s mess just compounds these stresses.

She added: “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 or recourse.

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

Fly-tipping can include asbestos and chemical waste, which are dangerous.

A Tendring Council spokesman said it took flytipping seriously, but could not take on responsibility for clearing waste from private land.

“On publicly-owned land both district councils and the Environment Agency have powers to tackle flytipping; however, although we sympathise with the situation, it is always the responsibility of the landowner to clear up flytipping on their own land,” he said

“Officers within Tendring District Council’s Street Scene Team would be more than happy to liaise with landowners to discuss possible crime prevention measures that could be implemented, and we would look to work together to tackle this issue.

“We always encourage people to report flytipping via our website and also take part in initiatives such as Crime Not To Care to clamp down on the root causes of flytipping.”