I’m having a break with my family for a few days. We have been visiting our beautiful countryside. But everywhere we go, townscapes and landscapes are blighted by litter. We hate it. Everyone hates it.
We were up on the Titterstone Clee today. There we met Colin, Chris and Ben, three volunteer litter pickers. It was great to see them. Ben, who picks up the bottles and cans from difficult slopes, is a border collie. Watch him collect a plastic water bottle in this video.
The wind has been blowing hard since yesterday afternoon. Today is recycling day for parts of Ludlow and many other areas. And once again, we are seeing the all too familiar scene of plastics and tins being blown from the recycling boxes and littering the streets. What is Shropshire Council planning to do about this? Absolutely nothing.
We are all cheering after Network Rail cleared litter from railway embankments in Ludlow. The action came on 20 June, after the Ludlow Advertiser featured the problem on its front page and after councillors and residents lobbied Network Rail for its removal.
I am pleased that the rail company has cleared the litter before the height of the tourist season. The rail line had become an eyesore with bottles and cans strewn above the tunnel at the rail station and along the embankment at Sheet Road.
Now the litter has been cleared, I hope that Network Rail will keep the line neat and tidy. Thousands of tourists come to Ludlow by rail. It would be terrible if their first sight of the town is a dirty railway.
Its bank holiday weekend, and I am ashamed of how dirty our town has become.
Fly-tipping is growing after the Coder Road recycling centre was shut down despite overwhelming opposition to the move.
In recent days, we’ve had a pile of fly-tipped debris removed from Back Lane between the Racecourse and Onibury.
But anything dumped on private land is not Shropshire Council’s responsibility. The costs for this removal falls on the landowner or tenant – that’s why the council is not sweating over costs it might incur from the Coder Road closure. And that is why there is still fly-tipped rubbish and office equipment along Back Lane.
There is a huge problem with litter and fly-tipping on Network Rail land in and around Ludlow. Tracey Huffer, Viv Parry and myself are pressing the company to meet its legal obligations to keep the land it owns free of litter. The community relations manager for Network Rail told us:
“Litter and fly tipping is a perennial issue for is and I would like to assure you that plenty of effort and resource goes into keeping our railway tidy.”
Can you see any evidence of that happening? Of course not. Network Rail is so inefficient that when it sent a maintenance team to cut the grass above the tunnel at Ludlow station, the team failed to clean up the rubbish it exposed.
When challenged by a resident on why this was so, he was told: “Someone else will do that.” No one has done that. I asked Network Rail why this was so. The company replied:
“Regrettably, if a site team are undertaking a particular task on our infrastructure then they have to keep within their remit; it is not as simple as taking on additional tasks whilst in the area as the relevant permissions/arrangements have not been sought to do this.”
I was very angry with this response and emailed back:
“Permissions do not need to be sought when you are on your own property. If keeping within a remit that allows cutting grass but not picking up litter, then you have a problem with the remit. If your arrangements are wrong, then you have got them wrong. This is simply no good enough.”
I am astonished that Network Rail site teams can’t mow the grass and pick up the litter at the same time. Customers and residents don’t want dirty stations and tracks. But while Network Rail has a jobsworth attitude to litter and fly-tipping, that’s what we will get.
There is a new twist on fly-tipping. My thanks to ‘A’ for alerting me to the rubbish fly-tipped into the recycling bins on Smithfield car park. That’s easy to do because the bin lids are not locked.
I’ve reported this to Veolia.
We have a problem with smells too. Ludlow Skip Hire has taken over the waste transfer station on Temeside behind the Furniture Scheme. The company has inherited a huge pile of rubbish and it’s trying to reduce the volume. But as the temperatures rise, it’s causing a bit of a stink. Viv Parry is on the case. I’ve asked officers to check with the Environment Agency whether the site is operating within its licence conditions.
We need employment in town, but this is probably wrong sort of business to be located alongside housing. We need to plan for the long term regeneration of this area while ensuring that existing businesses do not cause problems for residents.