Fly-tipping that is "as bad now as it has ever been" is costing a Harpenden farmer thousands of pounds.

Will Dickinson, of Cross Farm, is being targeted by fly-tippers "almost every day", and is calling for tougher punishments for those responsible.

Mr Dickinson, who runs an arable farm, spoke of how the items that are left also pollute his land and affect the harvest.

He commented: “We’ve had all sorts of things dumped - from green waste, to nappies to bathroom suites.


“We’ve even had asbestos left on the fields, meaning we’ve been unable to harvest areas of land, which is a huge inconvenience and cost to the business.

“This is one of the very few crimes where the victim has to pay the costs.

“It is legally the responsibility of the landowner to pay for removing the rubbish.

Herts Advertiser: Green waste on Will Dickinson's farm.Green waste on Will Dickinson's farm. (Image: National Farmers' Union)

“Those who do get caught often receive a small fine when the landowner, the victim, has to pay out much more to clear up the mess.

“Fortunately the local police sergeant here is hot on it and the district council has done a lot of work to try to tackle fly-tipping.

“But they need more power and the NFU (National Farmers' Union) is continuing to make our case with decision makers.”

The NFU estimates that at least two thirds of farmers have been affected by fly-tipping, with clear-ups costing the industry tens of millions of pounds each year.

A spokesperson for the union said: "It was reported earlier this year that fly-tipping cases across the country had fallen slightly.

Herts Advertiser: Harpenden farmer Will Dickinson.Harpenden farmer Will Dickinson. (Image: National Farmers' Union)

"But with over a million incidents reported, this is still much higher than the figures recorded in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 and part of a concerning overall trend.

"This prompted the NFU to reiterate its call for urgent action to tackle fly-tipping on farmland.

"This includes making it easier for the public to reduce and recycle waste, and properly punishing offenders who are caught dumping waste illegally with punitive fines, so they act as a deterrent.

"The NFU also want to see a consistent approach across the country where police, government agencies and local authorities are working more closely together to tackle the problem."