Countryfile presenter John Craven
It is the scourge of England’s once green and pleasant land.
And the problem of fly-tipping has got so bad that it is now at ‘epidemic’ levels, according to Countryfile presenter John Craven.
The 77-year-old broadcaster has attacked the blight of rural littering, blaming councils for charging residents more for using local tips.
Writing in his Countryfile magazine column, he says: ‘There is an epidemic sweeping across our countryside with nearly a million cases reported last year – and the bill for treating it is running at £50million.
‘It’s distressing, harmful to nature, criminal and shows no sign of abating. The name of this affliction? Fly-tipping.
‘Add to this blight all the casual litter-louting, from dropped fast-food containers to flicked-away cigarette ends, and we are facing a national predicament that campaigners say is at crisis level.
‘When I’m driving along rural roads on assignments for Countryfile, rarely does a day pass without seeing ugly mounds of illegally-tipped rubbish: tyres, old washing machines, carpets, furniture, even toxic materials.’
Craven’s comments follow a recent report suggesting fly-tipping is on the rise, with the number of incidents up for the third year in a row.
Official figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed councils across England reported 936,090 cases in 2015/16, up 4 per cent on the previous year.
Clearing up all the waste is said to cost councils £49.8million a year, and on-the-spot fines of up to £400 are said to have done little to ease the situation.
Craven, who has fronted Countryfile for more than 25 years, continued: ‘This scourge had been on the decline but now it’s peaking and in some quarters blame is being put on local councils.
‘Because they are strapped for cash, they are charging more to use local rubbish tips and even closing some of them, while at the same time cutting back on household waste collections.
Official figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed councils across England reported 936,090 cases in 2015/16, up 4 per cent on the previous year
Clearing up all the waste is said to cost councils £49.8million a year, and on-the-spot fines of up to £400 are said to have done little to ease the situation
Craven’s comments follow a recent report suggesting fly-tipping is on the rise, with the number of incidents up for the third year in a row
‘Despite tougher penalties it is often impossible to catch offenders in the act.
‘The Woodland Trust says 2016 was its worst year on record, leaving a clean-up bill of £162,000, but only one fly-tipper could be successfully prosecuted – the first case in the Trust’s history.’
Yesterday the Daily Mail reported how fly-tipper Jamie Humpage, 28, of Blakenall, Walsall, was jailed for six months after parking his offending van in front of a CCTV camera.
Earlier this year Conservative MP Anne Main spoke out about dog owners hanging their pets’ waste from tree branches, bushes and railings.
Unsurprisingly Craven is not a fan of the practice either. He said: ‘The latest craze seems to be to hang dog-poo bags from a bush or tree rather than bin them.
‘Litter on the moor impacts on wildlife – it’s attracting more crows, which then predate on the nests of curlews, an internationally endangered species.’
81 PER CENT OF BIN COLLECTION COMPLAINTS WERE UPHELD
Successful complaints about rubbish collections are soaring as households highlight problems with their service.
Some 81 per cent of grievances the Local Government Ombudsman was alerted to regarding bin collections were upheld in figures for 2016/17.
This is sharply up on the 69 per cent of the previous year, and well above the average of 53 per cent of successful complaints for all types of investigations by the ombudsman.
The watchdog said the service should be ‘simple to get right’. Problems included repeatedly missed collections, poor handling of complaints, and issues with assistance for the disabled.
One woman had to phone her council every fortnight for more than three months because bin men kept failing to collect her rubbish, the watchdog’s report – Lifting the Lid on Bin Complaints – said.