The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the south west is urging the public to ensure they dispose of their rubbish responsibly this Christmas.

We are now in what could be considered prime fly-tipping season with out-of-sync bin collections, reduced recycling centre hours and a huge increase in household waste, thanks to all that festive fun.

Latest government statistics show there were more than one million fly-tipping incidents in 2018/19 on public land – with nearly two-thirds of those involving household waste.

The statistics however are the just the tip of the iceberg as they do not include incidents of fly-tipping on private land – which the landowner has to clear at personal cost or risk prosecution themselves.

Nearly two-thirds of farmers have been a victim of fly-tipping with more than half saying it is a significant issue in their area.

CLA director south west Ann Maidment said: “Christmas is a time when households can have an increased amount of waste with boxes, old and broken toys and appliances, and an increase in general waste as people host friends and family.

“In many cases, there can often be changes in local authority bin collection days which can also lead to an accumulation of waste over the festive period.

“We urge everyone to dispose of their rubbish responsibly by checking when their local recycling centre is open and wait to take it there.

“If you have to dispose of a large amount of rubbish we recommend you only use a waste removal service that can provide evidence of a Waste Carriers Licence. This can avoid it being taken away by unscrupulous operators and dumped in the countryside.

Read more: Flytipper fined thousands for dumping rubbish in countryside

The CLA would also encourage you to follow the Environment Agency’s “SCRAP” code if you are looking to hire someone to take your rubbish away for you:

• Suspect all waste carriers. Don't let them take your rubbish until they provide proof of registration. Note their vehicle's registration plate.

• Check that a waste carrier is registered on the Environment Agency's website.

• Refuse any unexpected offers to have your rubbish taken away.

• Ask how your rubbish will be disposed of - seek evidence of this.

• Paperwork must be obtained: a proper invoice, waste transfer note or receipt, including a description of the waste being removed and the waste carrier’s contact details.

Miss Maidment continued: “In 2020 the CLA will continue to call for greater penalties for those people that are caught fly-tipping and changes to an unjust system whereby private landowners are having to pick up the bill for waste that is illegally dumped on their land.”