A Scottish farmer has been left to pay clear-up costs of £2,000 (approximately €2,430) after he discovered two tonnes of rotten meat from a meat processing site dumped on his land.
Waste was dumped from a public road, over the side of a bridge, to land in a burn and on the banking, creating both a health risk and an environmental incident, according to NFU Scotland.
Despite repeated calls to North Lanarkshire Council for assistance, farmer, David Shanks, was left with organising and paying for the clean-up costs.
North Lanarkshire Council Roads Department agreed to a 24-hour road closure, which allowed Mr Shanks to use members of his team to shovel the rotting butchery waste into plastic tubs to be lifted and disposed of by a local waste disposal firm.
The clear-up operation lasted four hours, according to NFU Scotland.
Mr Shanks used his own staff and local environmental cleaning company, Greenerleaf, to clear up, but because the process took place at the weekend, overtime pay was also incurred; no compensation is available.
Farmer held responsible
SEPA is investigating the incident just off the A73 Stirling Road near Brackenhirst Farm and an appeal for information has been issued.
Talking about the case, Mr Shanks said: “It is ridiculous that an incident of this kind, which I could do nothing to prevent, sees me being held responsible for someone else’s waste simply because it has been dumped on my land.”
“Other than agreeing to the road closure, I received little support from my local authority and, disappointingly, despite the seriousness of the incident they failed to return my calls.”
“This is a fly-tipping hotspot on a public road. We have had couches, beds and pallets tipped over the side of the bridge on numerous occasions, but this was the first time we have seen food waste dumped, creating an environmental hazard.”
He said that until the local authority fences the bridge or introduces CCTV, these incidents will continue to occur.
“At the same time, there is clearly a case for some of the costs of clearing up to be covered by local authorities rather than farmers and landowners always having to carry the can.”
Call for action
This has been described as “one of the worst fly-tipping incidents of late”.
NFU Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates have written to the Scottish Government following a spate of fly-tipping incidents, such as this, in recent months.
In a joint statement, representatives from NFUS and SLE said: “Rural business owners, farmers and crofters are proud to live and work in Scotland’s beautiful natural environment and work hard as custodians of the landscape to protect and enhance it for others to enjoy.
“It is, therefore, both hugely frustrating and heart-breaking for the people who work on the land when it is abused by an irresponsible minority who leave rubbish behind themselves or deliberately and illegally dump rubbish and waste on farmland and estates.
“We are pleased to support Zero Waste Scotland’s campaign to remind those accessing the countryside of their responsibilities when they are enjoying Scotland’s natural landscape.”
“As well as promoting responsible access-taking in the countryside, in the longer-term, more must be done to crack down on fly-tipping in Scotland’s countryside and as such, we have written jointly to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform calling for dialogue and further action on this important issue.” they concluded.
Image source: NFU Scotland