AN AGRICULTURAL expert is warning of the ‘hidden cost’ of fly tipping, after it was revealed councils have spent more than £4.5m on cleaning up the south east in just 12 months.

Newly-released figures from Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealed more than one million incidents of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England in 2016-17, costing taxpayers nationally £58m to clear up.

In 2016, there were 1,036 incidents of fly tipping in Basingstoke, with this figure rising to 2,174 in 2017, costing Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council £83,746 to clear up.

Councils see a surge in the amount of fly tipping in January, with rogue residents and traders dumping post-festive waste, including old Christmas trees.

On a regional level, there were 79,911 reported fly tipping incidents in the south east between April 2016 and March 2017, which cost taxpayers £4,541,608.

However, Alan Sinclair, pictured, of insurance specialist Lycett says these figures are not reflective as DEFRA only accounts for fly tipping incidents on council land, not private property and insists that the figures are much higher.

He added farmers who fall victim to the fly tippers are responsible for meeting the cost of clearing rubbish from their land themselves at an average cost of £1,000 per incident.

Mr Sinclair said: “Farmers are well aware of this issue and are saddened by the visual impact it has on the countryside they maintain, as well as it being a nuisance and inconvenience when trying to get on with their normal, daily jobs.

“Farmers are not only having to fork out for clean-up costs but are having to worry about the damage it can cause to workers and their animals. Flytipping can affect every part of their livelihood.

“With many authorities looking at introducing charges for bulky waste and organic waste collections and charging for dumping waste at council-run tips, there is a fear that fly tipping incidents on farmland will increase.”

Alan also stresses the importance of having sufficient protection for farming businesses, particularly in the case of repeat offences – he is telling farmers to remain vigilant and report cases to the police.

Insurance is also available for farmers with policies to cover the cost of flytipping – generally around £5,000 per incident and capped at £15,000.

To find out more about Lycetts or obtain further information about farm insurance, visit