IT’S EASTER – LET’S DUMP SOME RUBBISHEastertide – so farmers and landowners throughout the eastern region are expecting to find piles of waste dumped in their gateways, fields and hedges.
"This is the big weekend for DIY, gardening or just a spring clear out and that's when we'll be getting the rubbish that results," says Nicola Currie eastern region director of the CLA (Country Land and Business Association). "Some people simply cannot be bothered to go to the re-cycling centres – others find that when they get there they won't be allowed to dispose of all they take. Either way the countryside suffers.
"Fly-tipping occurs all year round, but this is undoubtedly the worst period of the year. People do not realise that the owners of the land where they have thrown their waste will have to remove it - and at considerable cost. If we don't do so, and quickly, it will set a trend and within days we can expect to get more. So we are asking everyone who has waste to dispose of not to take the easy option.
"But in the long run we need to achieve a culture where littering generally, and fly-tipping in particular, is socially unacceptable. If we don't, litter and fly-tipping will continue indefinitely."
The problem is universal, ask any farmer and he will be able to catalogue a string of incidents. Mrs Currie has constant reports from CLA members of detritus ranging from the inevitable black sacks containing unmentionable items to furniture, televisions, lamps, toys and defunct electrical equipment. A pair of crutches and a pile of soot were two of the more unusual items.
"That happens all year round," she says, "but there is a particular problem with DIY. Many recycling centres will not take more than one item at a time and so numerous trips have to be made over long periods, a bath one week, wash-hand basin the next. Obviously it is very tempting to take what you can for disposal and then dump the rest in the nearest hedge or gateway."
The CLA, which has long campaigned for action over the blight of fly-tipping, has now launched a three-point plan to combat this ever-increasing scourge. It is calling for Government to:
"Many landowners are actually afraid of reporting fly-tipping incidents for fear of being fined or incurring heavy costs when they have done nothing wrong," says CLA national president William Worsley. "Defra and the Environment Agency urgently need to review the ways in which landowners are able to recycle materials dumped on their property.
"Government is also not acting quickly enough. We are still waiting for a decision whether to introduce improvements to regulations to control the stop, search and seizure of vehicles as part of the waste controls enforcement regime, measures which could reduce the number of victims."
The association has worked with North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin on his 10-minute rule Bill on fly-tipping in which he called for an amendment to the Environmental Protection Act (1990) to increase the powers of local authorities to investigate and remove illegally-dumped waste. There have been sustained meetings with Defra ministers to push for free disposal of fly-tipped material at local recycling centres and last autumn the CLA president presented a petition with more than 2,000 signatures to Defra.
For further information
Sally Smith, CLA regional PR 01553 764422 OR 07729 448046
Nicola Currie, regional director CLA 01284 789201 or 07702 928870
As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners and rural businesses and communities, assessing and commenting upon national and regional policy and lobbying government on their behalf. There is a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support. The CLA has been looking after the interests of its members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership and land management, for over 100 years.
CLA members own approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts the organisation in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.
For more information about the CLA, visit: www.cla.org.uk
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