Trying to deal with the problem of fly-tipping must be akin to one of punishments doled out by the gods in the Greek Myths.
But rather than pushing a boulder to the top of a hill, only to watch it roll down again, as Sisyphus was condemned to do for eternity, the modern version consists of cleaning up a country lane, then returning to find some lazy criminal has slunk in under cover of darkness to dump asbestos, fence panels and for good measure a broken television set.
In an area such as East Hampshire, the task must seem nigh-on impossible for the same reason that the district holds such appeal – mile upon mile of hedge-lined country lanes, which provide many a lay-by ideal for stopping a van and dumping rubbish, and are easily reachable from major roads.
But that doesn’t mean we need to accept this countryside blight, nor does it mean we need to resign ourselves to fly-tipping being seen as a necessary evil.
As mentioned earlier, it is a criminal act. It’s against the law, and for good reason. There is no excuse, and the only reason it goes on is because people want to avoid paying to dispose of waste – even if this means exposing the public and the natural world to hazardous substances such as asbestos.
Today we echo the call made by Cllr Guy Shepherd of Horndean, who calls upon everyone to be a ‘detective’ and be alert to fly-tipping.
We cannot – nor would we want to – have cameras covering every inch of land, but if every piece of fly-tipping is reported, then local councils will have an idea of where could be targeted with surveillance operations.
And secondly, if anyone is spotted dumping rubbish, it is only the matter of a few seconds’ work to memorise the vehicle registration plate and pass it on – there needs to be no vigilante intervention, nor any tailing of offenders’ cars.
Littering and fly-tipping has been a problem for many years. But that doesn’t mean we can’t hit back. There have been prosecutions for this crime – let’s hope we see more.