Fly-tipping costing our communities dearly

editorial image

Fly-tipping is a scurge of society which blights our communities, ruining the good work that goes into making them better and safer places for people to live.

And it’s clear from complaints by people who live near these illegal dump sites that it is an important issue that needs sorting.

Many residents believe it has increased in the wake of the four-week bin cycle being introduced last year or the rise is down to Falkirk Council charging for bulky uplifts.

There’s even a little cottage industry sprouting up of ‘white van’ men charging householders a lower fee than the council to take their rubbish to the tip – they’re called ‘tip runs’ and social media is full of offers.

Falkirk Council says there hasn’t been a rise in cases since October, when the four-week collection began, despite a few teething problems at the time, and it’s believed the majority of fly-tipping is carried out by small businesses – who don’t want to pay the levy to dispose of waste at recycling centres – and not householders.

The council has also brought back a free bulky uplift for each household per year by setting aside £300,000 from next year’s budget, which is expected to have a positive effect.

Fly-tipping is defined as the illegal dumping of waste and it is not only illegal, it can be dangerous for children and wildlife. Complaints of rubbish being left strewn across the district in wooded areas, remote roads, near industrial estates, in housing estates and even next to primary schools like at St Margaret’s in Polmont, are a regular occurrence.

Resident William Ettles said he was “shocked and upset” at two instances of fly-tipping outside the children’s school recently. He asked: “What sort of person could do this?”

Members of Westquarter & Redding Cricket Club say a tractor and trailors have been dumping stuff near their land with the culprits even going to great lengths using mini diggers to hide it.

Business owners in Falkirk town centre are also upset over the dumping of waste, which drives away custom and investment in the local economy, however, this is being blamed on household waste.

A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue with fly-tipping of domestic waste, not trade waste, in the town centre area – we are investigating this matter and will take action. This can result in fines for those individuals who are identified and successfully prosecuted.

“We are keen to maintain the cleanliness of Falkirk town centre and are working with a number of interested groups in the town centre to ensure that all waste bags are removed properly, including those that are collected by private contractors, and that we minimise any potential environmental issues.”

The issue genuinely affects everyone and everyone affected by it is genuinely angry about it and people are using social media pages to highlight it their concerns.

Lynn Morrison posted on the Let’s Talk About Grangemouth & Skinflats page with pictures of rubbish dumped in Wholeflats Road which attracted a flurry of comments.

She said: “Totally disgusted by what I saw this morning when daylight set in. This is the lay-by that runs alongside Wholeflats Road – everybody fly tipping here and only a mile from the tip – something needs to be done about this asap”.

Councillor David Balfour highlighted the cost issue of fly-tipping. He commented: “It is shocking that people do this. It costs a lot of money every time the council has to go out and clear up dumped rubbish, money that would be better spent on keeping jobs and services.

“If people would just take their rubbish home or to the tip, it would make such an improvement to our town.”

John Leitch believes free bulky uplifts would help solve the problem. He said: “The sooner councils realise that folk are not going to pay council tax and then pay again to dispose of their rubbish the better. The present system is an absolute shambles and ain’t working”.

Margaret McMartin posted: “Disgusting but I’m afraid it’s a sign of the times. Until some stop the attitude I’m alright Jack and take a pride in things it’s going to continue.”

Alison Frerichs said a patch of land on Avonbridge Road just before Slamannan is targeted frequently. She said:“It’s an absolute disgrace and I feel for the people who live in the surrounding properties. These fly tippers should be ashamed.”

The council says the number of fly-tipping incidents increased slightly in 2015, but remained relatively consistent in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

A spokesperson said: “There is absolutely no excuse for fly-tipping. We have two well-used household recycling centres open seven days a week that householders can use. We also provide a bulky uplift service for all households in Falkirk which is amongst the cheapest in Scotland.

“Fly-tipping is illegal, unsightly and can be especially dangerous to children and wildlife. The more people reporting fly-tipping allows us to identify hotspots and take the necessary action against this criminal activity.”

Flytipping can be reported at www.falkirk.gov.uk or by call the Community Safety Team 0808 1003161.

A Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) spokesperson said: “Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime and can have serious consequences for the environment if waste is not disposed of correctly.

“We would encourage anyone who witnesses fly tipping or finds fly tipped waste to report it, in confidence, by calling the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line on 0845 2 30 40 90.”