Fky-tipping a scourge on rural life

FLY-TIPPING of rubbish has become the scourge of rural life, a landowners' chief told a "litter summit" yesterday.Paul Long, eastern region director of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), told the seminar, organised by local authorities of the Suffolk Waste Management Group: "There is scarcely a farm or estate that does not have some horror story to tell.

FLY-TIPPING of rubbish has become the scourge of rural life, a landowners' chief told a "litter summit" yesterday.

Paul Long, eastern region director of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), told the seminar, organised by local authorities of the Suffolk Waste Management Group: "There is scarcely a farm or estate that does not have some horror story to tell.

"So serious is it that sometimes it seems to us that our country roads are lined with cars and vans loaded with waste top dispose of."

Mr Long said a change of culture in the current "throw-away society" was the only hope of combating the problem of litter and fly-tipping.


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"You have only to look at our pavements, roadside, open spaces, woods, fields, hedgerows and seashore to see that the British public has no sense whatever of community responsibility for rubbish disposal.

"From sweet packets dropped out of pushchairs to burnt out cars in country lanes, the attitude to waste is the same - 'chuck it away, someone else will clear it up'.

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"We can talk and debate here the best ways to deal with litter but that is only a half measure. We have to try to prevent it happening in the first place.

"In an ideal world causing litter would be socially unacceptable. That seems unlikely to happen, so the change will have to be helped along by severe penalties rigorously imposed," he added.

Last year the CLA conducted a litter survey which found that those living within seven miles of fast food outlets were likely to experience "burger containers" being thrown out of car windows.

It also found that dumping of hedge trimmings and builder's waste was a problem in the countryside.

Yesterday's seminar was attended by more than 50 representatives of councils, the emergency services, the Highways Agency, "fast food" companies as well as the Tidy Britain Group and the CLA.

Practical ideas to reduce the litter menace included more education initiatives in schools and the encouragement of a competitive edge between neighbourhoods, villages and towns.

There was also agreement on "joined up litter picking" - a commitment among the agencies to talk to each other more to avoid duplication of litter pick-ups at the expense of neglected areas.

The seminar heard that enforcement was to be stepped up in Ipswich town centre where litter is a major problem.

BBC Radio Suffolk said it would organise and promote a Suffolk Spring Clean event.

Sandy Martin, who chaired the seminar, said: "Everyone who came to the event was convinced of the importance of litter as an issue to the people of Suffolk and we've come away not only with a vision of a cleaner, safer Suffolk but also with practical ideas of things we can all do together to make that vision a reality."

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