Fly-tipping is increasing everywhere. In our county it will not be helped by the closure of recycling bring banks. We have several incidents in Ludlow in recent weeks. By far the worst is also by far the most shocking.
A pile of stinking rubbish and packaging has been dumped in the Castle Street car park. Food waste. Plastic bottles. Cartons. But also packaging for items sent through the Royal Mail and courier services. These identify the culprits and I have asked Shropshire Council to consider a prosecution.
The real shock is that some of this material is addressed to people who I thought were responsible and working in the best interests of Ludlow. Fly-tipping is utterly irresponsible and if the council decides to act the perpetrators could face substantial fines, even a spell at Her Majesty’s Pleasure (though that is very unlikely).
We are a beautiful town. Our car parks might not be as beautiful as the historic streets but they should be clean and tidy, not piled up high with debris. People who say they are promoting our town seem to be desecrating it.
Because I have asked for a prosecution to be considered, I can’t name the perpetrators. I suspect there may be more than one. Once fly-tipping starts people add to it.
Viv Parry, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow South rang me about this festering heap this morning. She said that the spate of fly-tipping could affect the town’s rating in the Heart of England in Bloom competition. Ludlow consistently wins gold in the competition which is judged in the next few weeks. Piles of black plastic bags containing festering rubbish and carboard boxes will not impress the judges.
I spent half an hour this morning sifting through the bags looking for evidence. Don’t councillors just have the best jobs in the world?
I find this incident worse than many others of late because some of this debris can be identified as coming from a cause I support. I am left in a quandary here. If I name the cause, I might threaten any action by Shropshire Council. If I don’t people might come to the wrong conclusion. It would be better if the perpetrators owned up and cleared the rubbish away.
There is no excuse in law if the waste generator did not know the waste was to end up in this location. In this case I don’t think that argument applies anyway. It was deliberate dumping of waste that should have been recycled or taken to Craven Arms.
Fly-tipping is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court.
Shropshire Council has now given instructions for the waste to be cleared. There are many more important things that the council’s diminished finances could be spent on than by having to deal with irresponsible behaviour by Ludlow events and residents.