St Albans residents “disgusted” by fly-tipping in south of district
- Credit: Archant
A spate of fly-tipping incidents is angering residents in the south of St Albans.
Over the last year Colney Heath locals have noticed piles of rubbish being dumped increasingly frequently in country lanes around the area - leaving them feeling disgusted and helpless.
The junk has included tyres, construction waste, windows, and white goods.
Gemma Hopkins, 36, spotted an abandoned caravan on Barley Mow Lane: “Dog walkers and members of Highfield Park keep reporting the fly-tips but by the time they are cleared a new pile of mess is left.
“This must be costing the tax payer thousands of pounds.”
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She estimates there is a new dump on a weekly basis, which she says is hazardous for wildlife, drivers, and pedestrians.
Aja Whittingham was walking her dog when she found a load of builders waste on Hixberry Lane: “It has definitely got worse over the last year, I’m going to take a guess that it has something to do with all the issues with the dump as that is a huge problem for everyone.
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“It is just a shame that our green parts of St Albans have to suffer.
“I was disgusted, especially as there was dog poo on the tarpaulin too.
“It made me feel let down and that it is so sad people can’t respect the nice things we have so close to us.”
The 20-year-old said it was the third fly-tip on Hixberry Lane last month: “It is dangerous as there are sharp objects there that a child or someone’s dog could seriously injure themselves on.”
A 32-year-old dog walker, who would prefer not to be named, reported around a dozen fridges left in a field.
He believes householders should take care to only use trustworthy disposal businesses: “It is disgusting, really petty behaviour and obviously I can’t definitely pinpoint a particular person who did this but it seems to be people who choose cheap labour.
“I know we are all about cost cutting but I like to think that the majority of people will go with rubbish collectors who are reputable and will dispose of it properly.
“It’s very frequent and unfortunately the council are doing the best they can but they can’t be there all the time.
“I would like to see a bit more community support - a presence once or twice a day walking around - not just for fly-tipping but for antisocial behaviour.”
The rubbish is dumped on a mixture of public and private land.
Colney Heath district councillor, Chris Brazier, agrees: “What they are doing is dumping the rubbish wherever they can, charging the clients the disposal fee and keeping the money - putting the onus on the district council and the county council to clear it up.
“Fly-tipping is a real, human problem and it will get worse until we find a cure.”
Waste manager for St Albans district council, Lee Myers, said investigations are ongoing: “Fly-tipping is a criminal offence and we will prosecute anyone we catch doing it, with those convicted facing fines of up to £50,000 and 12 months imprisonment.
“It is a national problem and we work jointly with the police and neighbouring councils to deal with it, recently taking part in the county-wide SCRAP campaign to raise awareness of the issues involved.”
He said 35 people have been prosecuted for fly-tipping in Hertfordshire since April 2017 and the number of incidents in St Albans has declined over the last year.
“However, we are not complacent and will continue to use a range of measures to counter fly-tipping.
“We would also remind householders and businesses that they have a legal duty to ensure they use a registered waste carrier to dispose of their waste.”
A spokesperson from Herts county council said: “[Recycling centres] have never accepted commercial waste and if they did without payment, taxpayers would be subsidising businesses who are lawfully liable for the payment of waste disposal generated in the course of their business activities.”