Fly-tipping and Illegal Dumping — [SIR MARK HENDRICK in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:37 pm on 24 May 2022.

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Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 3:37, 24 May 2022

I am sure I will pick that up with my hon. Friend after the debate.

DEFRA continues to chair the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group, through which we work with a wide range of interested parties, such as local authorities, the police, the Environment Agency and the National Farmers Union, to disseminate good education and learning. My own farmers have spoken to me at length about it, so I know they will be pleased to hear that my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden highlighted how farmers’ land is blighted across the country. This is a rural crime, and many of us understand the impact it has on farmers and businesses, because they are obliged to clear it up when it is on their land.

We are currently working with the NFTPG to develop a fly-tipping toolkit to share best practice. That toolkit will ensure that people can present robust cases to the courts to support tougher sentences. We intend to deliver that shortly. We have already started working on the next element of the toolkit: how councils can set up and run an effective fly-tipping partnership. We expect to have that published before the end of the year.

We recently concluded two online consultations on how to tackle waste crime while supporting people and businesses to manage waste correctly. I fully agree with my hon. Friend Mr Mohindra that we must support businesses that are doing the right thing. Those are the ones that we do not want to be penalised because others do things badly. We will reform and strengthen the waste carriers, brokers and dealers regime by moving it to a permit-based system, increasing competence and the background checks required to move or trade waste. We are taking forward the introduction of mandatory digital waste tracking, which will also help us to detect, enforce and prosecute, as the hon. Member for Barnsley East pointed out. I hope that it is clear that we are taking extensive action to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping. That action, along with the tireless work of local authorities and many other community organisations, will deliver significant results.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden once again, and I also thank the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire, and my hon. Friends the Members for Keighley, for Loughborough (Jane Hunt), for Hyndburn, for Moray, for Totnes (Anthony Mangnall), for Peterborough, for South West Hertfordshire, for Truro and Falmouth and for Sevenoaks. They are literally from the top to the bottom of our beautiful country—

“This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself.”

That is the rest of the quote given by my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes. Let us ensure that we sort this out and do the right thing.