The CLA has welcomed the KM newspaper group's Clean up Kent campaign, shining a light on the problems of littering and fly-tipping in the county.
Here in a letter, our Regional Director Robin Edwards sets out some of the issues...
The KM’s Clean up Kent campaign is to be welcomed for drawing attention to what is a very serious problem in the county.
Kent is the Garden of England and offers a first impression of the UK for many tourists, visitors and businesses. Yet there are nearly 20,000 incidents of fly-tipping a year. Items such as mattresses, fridges, tyres, asbestos and much, much more are dumped in farmer's gateways, back alleys, on public footpaths, and sometimes just in the middle of country lanes as tipper-trucks drive along slowly dumping their load as they go.
It causes enormous harm to the environment as well as costing a fortune to clean up, especially if hazardous materials are involved. Landowners are liable for any waste dumped on their land and are fed up of having to clear up other people’s mess, and paying for the privilege.
Part of the problem is unscrupulous traders who collect waste for a fee, but dump it instead of disposing of it properly. If you pay someone to take your rubbish away, ask to see their licence and waste transfer certificate - all bona fide operators will have one.
Many people do not realise that you are still responsible for your waste, even if you have paid someone else to collect it. So if it's dumped, you could end up with the £5,000 fine.
The KM’s Clean up Kent campaign is doing a good job in highlighting the many issues around litter and fly-tipping.
It is vital that more prosecutions are brought forward to encourage people to do the right thing and dispose of their rubbish through proper legal channels. Councils must send a clear message to fly-tippers that they will face financial consequences.
But to really combat this crime against the countryside we need to see tougher penalties which act as a true deterrent. Imposing and enforcing stiffer penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime is crucial, along with seizing the vehicles used to fly-tip.
CLA South East