The Country Landowners’ Association (CLA) is backing calls for councils to be given new powers to tackle the rising problem of roadside rubbish.
The Local Government Association is calling for a legal loophole to be closed to enable drivers to be fined if litter is thrown from their vehicles, regardless of whether it was them or a passenger discarding it.
The CLA is supporting the move because rubbish dumped on to the side of roads can find its way into nearby farm fields.
Its regional director, Dorothy Fairburn, said: “Any type of rubbish, no matter how big or small, dumped on to the side of roads can easily find its way into fields used for growing crops or to graze livestock.
“Rubbish is ending up in crops, jeopardising farmers’ contracts. A farmer recently lost a £16,000 contract because fragments of glass from a discarded bottle were found in a one-kilo grain sample.
“Livestock can also chew and ingest rubbish found on grazing pastures, leading to the slow, agonising death of the animals.”
Miss Fairburn said that while she welcomed tougher penalties for those caught dropping litter or throwing it from their car windows, the public needed to realise the consequences of dropping litter.
“It might seem like a victimless act, but throwing rubbish from a car window or dumping it on a verge could lead to a major problem for a farmer and the food they grow or the animals they care for,” she said.
Last year the CLA welcomed new guidelines from the Sentencing Council, which said it wanted magistrates to make more use of the highest levels of fines for people caught fly-tipping. The CLA is also lobbying government to create a new ticketing scheme that would enable landowners to take fly-tipped rubbish to their local tip free of charge.