Calls for councils to reopen recycling centres as fly-tipping continues

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has called on councils to reopen recycling centres, with incidences of fly-tipping said to be “spiralling out of control” – becoming a serious threat to animals and the countryside.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in fly-tipping incidences in rural areas as the general public struggle to deal with excess household and garden waste since coronavirus restrictions were introduced,” UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt said.

“While we welcome guidance issued by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister Edwin Poots regarding the reopening of household recycling centres, it’s vital that local councils start putting measures in place so that these centres can resume business in a safe manner as soon as possible.

In recent weeks, numerous farmers have discovered the disposal of waste on their land and action needs to be taken to tackle the issue. It’s unfair that many of our members have had to endure the irresponsible behaviour of others.

“Their decision to dispose of waste so carelessly can cause serious issues for farm businesses due to the danger it poses,” Chestnutt continued.

In the past, the incorrect disposal of waste has polluted watercourses and contaminated land. It is not only a hazard to public health and the environment but can also be harmful to wildlife and animals.

‘Responsibility’

“We’re very concerned about the waste which is being dumped in fields putting animals’ lives including farming livestock, at risk. Animals are inquisitive and may ingest materials that have been dumped.

Garden waste such as grass cuttings and hedge trimmings may not seem harmful if tipped into a field; but if consumed by animals, it can cause sickness and even result in multiple deaths creating severe financial pressure for the farmer.

“Members of the public need to take responsibility for their actions. Dumping waste in fields or other areas is totally irresponsible and must stop,” concluded Chestnutt.

The UFU has said that it will contact political parties and councils urging them to reopen recycling centres to help tackle this problem, which is continuing to escalate.