Tag: countryside

For several years fly-tipping has declined. Now it’s rapidly rising. Here in Shropshire, the number of fly-tipping incidents is rising faster than the rest of England. And the cost of clearing up the mess in this county has shot up by a third. Around the country, local authorities dealt with a total of 852,000 incidents of fly-tipping in 2013/14, an increase of 20% since 2012/13. The bill for cleaning this up is an eye-watering £45 million pounds. Nearly two thirds of fly-tipping is household waste. Three years ago, there were 1,129 fly-tipping incidents across Shropshire. Last year there were 1,660 cases. That’s a whacking 47% increase, with fly-tipping incidents going up 26% last year alone. Fly-tipping incidents are now higher than at any time since Shropshire unitary authority was created.

I was out strolling in the woods this morning when BBC Radio Shropshire rang asking to speak about the hedgerow row. I began to talk to Jim Hawkins not even knowing that the  application had been withdrawn, Of course, I was elated to hear the news! You can hear the interview in iPlayer at 2:22 minutes (until 23 January). http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p012y7l9 It is expected that the landowner will be back with more considered and smaller applications in the future. However, his withdrawal of the bid to grub out up to seven miles of hedgerow sends a message to landowners and farmers across the country that large-scale speculative applications will not meet with success. Congratulations to Heather Kidd in Chirbury and the hundreds of people that battled to get the application withdrawn.

I take my hat off to Shropshire Council for its excellent work in securing Queen Elizabeth II Fields status for 23 sites. This should ensure that these green spaces are preserved in perpetuity. In a country that is around nine-tenths countryside, it might seem surprising that we are often short of green space, and more surprising still that the problem is often most acute in small towns and villages which are wrapped in green fields. But the countryside for all its beauty is often not accessible for a short stroll or a safe place for children to play. People, especially children and the infirm, need accessible green spaces on their doorsteps where they can play or simply take the air. It is these spaces, along with school playing fields, that have come under so much development pressure in recent years. Governments of all persuasions have of course promised to preserve urban and rural leisure spaces. But councils of all persuasions have too often found pressing needs, often the lure of cash, to sell off their green spaces. The government is also currently weakening town green law, aiming to make it much harder for communities to protect much loved spaces threatened…

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