Shoppers face fly-tip in St Albans city centre as part of campaign publicity stunt
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
City centre shoppers were confronted with the ugly reality of fly-tipping as part of a publicity stunt this week.
A mound of waste was strategically left on St Peter’s Street in a staged event by anti-fly-tipping campaign SCRAP.
It aims to educate residents about often misunderstood fly-tipping laws - homeowners are still responsible for their own rubbish after they hand it over to an unlicensed waste disposal company.
Not knowing that a business is unlicensed is not a defence and unwitting residents can be prosecuted.
The Hertfordshire Fly-tipping Group (FTG), a collaboration of organisations including St Albans district council (SADC), Herts police, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, and the Environment Agency, launched SCRAP this year.
The junk dumped outside St Albans Museum + Gallery included a dirty sofa, a broken oven, and an abandoned bike. It was provided by SADC waste contractor Veolia.
Portfolio holder for the environment at SADC, Cllr Frances Leonard, described fly-tipping as a “huge problem”: “It’s getting the message across to people that if they are taking your waste away, make sure they have a waste carriers licence - you can check that on the SADC website.”
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She said some people also accidentally fly-tip when they leave donations outside charity shops or drop bags next to full bins.
Adding: “I think there’s still more to do to get the message out. It makes me angry, because there is no need for it, it is criminal, it damages the environment, and rubbish attracts more rubbish.”
FTG staged a similar fly-tip on St Peter’s Street in March this year.
St Albans PSCO Adriano Russo added: “We are raising awareness for the homeowners who don’t realise that if they hand their waste to someone not authorised, for free, it will probably be dumped.
“Rural areas are blighted by this on a regular basis.”
He said there is a criminal community who are persistently fly-tipping for profit, praising the ongoing investigations of PC Jane Flemons.
The SCRAP initiative is based on an acronym: Suspect all waste carriers, Check and verify details, Refuse unsolicited offers, Ask for evidence of correct disposal, and obtain Paperwork. Report a fly-tip on 01727 809019 or call 999 if it is actively taking place.