AN ORGANISATION that support landowners has said that the closure of recycling centres and reduction in waste collections has raised fears of an increase in fly-tipping.

The Country Land and Business Association has urged landowners, farmers and the public to report any fly-tipping to their local council.

It comes after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council announced yesterday that waste collections would be decreased to fortnightly as they implement measures to protect their workers.

The changes, which will come into effect on April 20, also come after Hampshire County Council closed household recycling centres last month.

CLA South East Regional Director North, Michael Valenzia, said he had concerns over fly-tipping during the lockdown.

He said: “It is shocking to hear reports of fly-tipping incidents especially at this time of lock-down. The closure of tips is understandable, but can’t be used as an excuse to dump rubbish in our countryside.

“Farmers and landowners are victims of this crime yet have to clear up fly-tipped waste from their land, which we estimate costs on average about £900 per incident.

"If they don’t they face prosecution themselves, while the environmental impact is also considerable, especially if items such as asbestos are dumped.”

The CLA also advised that farmers and landowners can help prevent fly-tipping by ensuring that gates are locked, opening concealed entrances so they are more visible to passers-by, using CCTV in black spots and reporting all instances of fly-tipping to the police or local authority.

Announcing the move last night, Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement at BDBC, Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “Our bin crews are working very hard to complete all of the waste, recycling and clinical waste rounds in the borough while facing the same challenges with staffing as organisations up and down the country, owing to COVID-19.

“This is a fast moving situation and we have been, and continue to, closely monitor the staffing levels every day with the crew’s health and reducing the risk of spreading the virus being paramount. We face a new challenge each morning and have had to look at all the options for sustaining a service for the duration of the pandemic.

“Our crews have been tremendous and their commitment to delivering a service for our residents during these challenging times is something both they and we are incredibly proud of. But they cannot put themselves or others at risk and they must follow the government guidelines if feeling unwell, therefore we have been investigating reducing our waste collection service in line with other authorities.

“We are very privileged to have a weekly waste collection service which we have tried really hard to maintain but it is clear this service is not sustainable during this difficult time. The sensible and most realistic option is to temporarily move to fortnightly waste collections.

“Temporarily moving to a waste collection service one week and a recycling the next means we can also maintain our glass and recycling collections for residents. We will keep this under review and will go back to normal collections as soon as possible after the government restrictions have been lifted and we can safely do so.”

The council also announced that garden waste services across the borough would be suspended last month.