Ramping up fight against menace of rural fly-tipping

MESS Rubbish in Widley Walk pictured by reader Jacqueline Forrest
MESS Rubbish in Widley Walk pictured by reader Jacqueline Forrest

Car flips on A27 eastbound causing tailbacks into Portsmouth

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ASBESTOS, old furniture, fridges, freezers and rubble. All these things are regularly found dumped by the side of roads and are a scourge on our countryside.

Figures released to The News by local councils show the problem is not going away – and up to three incidents are being reported every day.

The problem is particularly bad in Havant, Chichester and East Hampshire.

In Havant borough, a total of 1,173 incidents were reported in 2012/2013 – up a quarter from 930 incidents the previous year.

During the same year, 257 incidents were reported in East Hampshire and 499 in Chichester district.

The cost to the taxpayer is huge, with Chichester district having to fork out £30,000 over the past five years to deal with the problem.

But the ordinary person who abides by the law can fight back.

The News and local councils are joining forces to encourage people to report fly-tippers and fly-tipping incidents as soon as they arise.

Registration numbers of cars doing the dumping are one of the best ways of reporting a fly-tipper, as well as taking photographs of the mess and any evidence.

And it’s not all about prosecution as the problem would abate if people thought twice about their actions and got ensured rubbish was disposed of legally by a reputable company.

Cllr Mike Fairhurst, Havant’s operational services leader, said: ‘Fly-tipping is a plague.

‘Those responsible ruin the environment through their laziness because they can’t be bothered to get rid of their rubbish properly.

‘I would like to see it halved in a year and I applaud anything The News can do to achieve that.

‘It costs the council a lot of money to clear the rubbish up and it’s money we could spend on providing facilities for residents.’

Jo Edwards, contracts monitoring officer for East Hampshire District Council, said: ‘There have been a number of fly-tips in the Horndean area since Christmas, one of which has good evidence in and is being investigated further.

‘Council taxpayers are paying the cost for the removal of the waste left by unscrupulous people.

‘Asbestos costs hundreds of pounds for each fly-tip.

‘One lane in Buriton had 20 piles of asbestos dumped all the way up the lane. One fly-tip contained an oil drum that had leaked onto a bridleway and this cost around £4,000 to clear as the soil around the site had to be removed as well.’

Officials in Chichester said they were operating a ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

Ms Edwards added: ‘If everyone is vigilant and takes steps to ensure their waste is disposed of properly, ie using reputable companies, checking for their permits, we can stop the fly-tippers ruining our beautiful countryside.’

To report fly-tipping in East Hampshire or Winchester call 0300 300 0013.

Incidents can be reported to Havant council online at havant.gov.uk/report-it or on (023) 9244 6019.

Photographs can also be submitted online as part of new initiative.

To report fly-tipping in Chichester, call 01243 534598 or email environmentalhealth@chichester.gov.uk. If you have a story call Jeff Travis or Elise Brewerton on (023) 9249 2444.

In Portsmouth call (023) 9283 4092. Fareham residents should call 01329 236100. To report an incident in the Gosport area call (023) 9254 5343.

FACTS ABOUT FLY-TIPPING

· Residents can legally dispose of green waste for around £90 and household waste for around £120.

· People should use a reputable company to dispose of their waste, check the firm has an environmental permit – and get a receipt.

· The cost of removal is borne by the taxpayer if it is on public land, or by the landowner if it is dumped on private land.

· Landowners can help by making sure their fences and gates are secure at all times.

· The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency works with the police and Environment Agency to do random checks to check commercial vehicles for waste permits.

· The maximum fine in a magistrates’ court is £50,000 or six months’ imprisonment, and this is unlimited in higher courts.