Fly-Tipping Spikes

BY NICK PEARCE

Fly-tipping is still out of control across much of the UK as lock-down continues. The period when tips were closed back in April has had a knock-on effect, resulting in people dumping rubbish illegally. Meanwhile, with little else to be getting on with, the revamping of homes and sorting out of clothes during lock-down has resulted in piles of unwanted furniture and bags of unwanted clothes, much of which might have been delivered to charity shops in the past. The problem is compounded by charity shops remaining closed.

There were over a million incidents of fly tipping last year in England alone. It’s an unsightly, and expensive, problem – costing nearly £60m of taxpayers’ money to clean up in 2019. 2020 looks like being the worst year for the problem yet.

Some locals are so fed up with fly-tipping they are taking the matter into their own hands. Simon Gordon, a Cheshire resident, saw one woman dropping rubbish in his village and so he filmed her and identified her via local chat groups. Eventually Cheshire’s Rural Police Team were able to issue her with a fine for fly-tipping.

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Country Squire’s Cumbrian Farmer, Jim Webster, wrote recently of Cumbrian locals dumping garden waste on his farm:

“As you can see we had visitors, and Sal, as the one in charge and the representative of the proper authorities, is inspecting the evidence. Yesterday, some responsible citizen mowed their lawn. Then they trimmed their hedge and put it through the shredder. Finally they loaded it all into their car and at some point after 5 pm, drove around looking for a place to tip it. Finally they alighted on our gateway.
I confess I struggle to understand mental processes of a person who takes a great deal of care to get their own place looking nice and then dumps their mess on somebody else? I mean, why don’t they just throw it over the hedge into next door and hack them off?

Last Christmas some muppet drove out of town and dumped a car full of bottles, wrapping paper etc in a gateway of ours. (Is there a pattern here? Are they choosing religious festivals?) Several people saw the heap and posted photos of it all over Facebook. Just to shame them into tidying up.
It obviously did have an effect, in a moment of revelation they realised that wrapping paper and envelopes would have their address on. So they came back, sorted through it, and took away everything with an address, leaving the rest.

Well almost everything with an address. Several people locally had already gone through the rubbish and had also extracted envelopes with addresses etc. Now when I discovered the address I was tempted to drop round with a loader bucket of slurry and tip in on their drive for them. But I resisted the temptation. Instead several people reported it to our local authority, where the chap in charge was utterly hacked off by the way people were tipping rubbish. When he got the name and address he prosecuted and they were fined £600. Which was rather more than I would have charged them for a loader bucket full of slurry.”

There are those looking to assist the authorities and make a difference in the countryside as well as the cities. Martin Montague created a phone app, ClearWaste, that allows anyone in the UK to report fly tipped waste:

“It knows exactly where you are, you take a picture of the waste and it sends it to the appropriate council. But also you can join groups on there to help with community clean ups. Or report anyone that you catch fly tipping.”

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So what should you do when someone fly-tips? Report the incident to the police, to ClearWaste and to your local Facebook chat group. You may even see some results from your efforts.

Dumps are now open. No-one has any reason to fly-tip. Please stop!

The Countryside Alliance brief on fly-tipping can be found here.

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