It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Howarth, and I congratulate my hon. Friend Neil Parish on securing the debate. We have heard wide-ranging contributions from other hon. Members, recognising some of the work that has been done and some of the challenges still before us. I welcomed the opportunity to discuss fly-tipping with my hon. Friend at a recent event hosted by the CLA, which led me to take action to investigate the issue further. He will be aware that this is a long-term issue that needs to be tackled.
Fly-tipping really affects our country. That is why we have done more, and will continue to do more, to stamp out this anti-social crime that blights not only our countryside but our urban streets, and costs our economy greatly. My Department works closely with organisations across government to tackle fly-tipping, including local authorities, the Local Government Association, the Environment Agency, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. We also encourage strong collaboration between local councils, the police, the Environment Agency, and local landowners and communities, to tackle this issue.
My officials recently met a number of fly-tipping partnerships to discuss and review their models. We will work with the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group to disseminate the information and increase collaboration and intelligence sharing on a local, regional and national scale. My officials are engaged with the police at a national level through the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and with police and crime commissioners. Indeed, tomorrow my officials will discuss fly-tipping with the police and crime commissioner for Dorset, who is the fly- tipping lead for the National Rural Crime Network. A representative from the National Police Chiefs’ Council rural crime team also sits on the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group, which is chaired by my officials.
I am aware of the difficulties faced by individuals and businesses when fly-tipping occurs on their land. Landowners have a legal responsibility for their land, which is why we encourage them to secure it against fly-tippers, always to report incidents of fly-tipping to their local council and the police, and swiftly to clear fly-tipped waste so that the site does not become a known dumping ground. Through the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group we publish advice for landowners of all types of private land, from farmland to industrial estates. The potential use of cameras was mentioned, and although a national CCTV network is unlikely, I am conscious that many landowners use CCTV to try to tackle and identify individuals who are dumping waste.