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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Turning a beauty spot into a tip
Sofa cleared by park volunteers
Volunteers clear a sofa dumped in the Snowdonia National Park
A committee of MPs called for tougher penalties for large-scale illegal dumping on Wednesday.

The committee backed the penalty for illegal dumping of waste being more than doubled, saying current penalties were "no deterrent" to offenders.

BBC News looks at one area of Britain where waste disposal laws are proving hard to enforce.

The Snowdonia Society is so concerned about the amount of household and commercial waste being dumped in Snowdonia National Park that it is asking people living in the area to help clear it up.

Volunteer coordinator Paul Lewis told BBC News they were now finding a "really surprising" amount of commercial waste, including rubble and metal from building sites, as well as a wide range of household junk - "fridges, washing machines and sofas" - and general litter.

"There was a particular spate last year where a whole load of car tyres had been dumped, presumably by a business, and this caused quite extensive problems," he said.

Just weeks ago, Mr Lewis found garden and household waste, including an old computer and some weight-lifting bars, in "a very beautiful unspoilt area" right in the heart of the national park.

I want this country to end its 'dump and forget' culture
Environment Minister Elliot Morley

Whoever left it there had transported it up a remote country land and through a mountain forest.

"You just would not think anyone would drive all the way up there to dump some household rubbish," Mr Lewis told BBC News.

"There was all sorts of stuff that people did not want."

The problem could be exacerbated by waste disposal rules that came into force this month, Mr Lewis added.

Hazardous waste, including tyres, fridges and old paint, now has to be taken to designated disposal sites.

People can just get off the beaten track, dump their rubbish without being seen and get away again
Snowdonia Society volunteer coordinator Paul Lewis

But there are no such sites in Wales.

And many businesses will not welcome the new expense - in both time and money - of transporting their waste to England.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley has said unscrupulous operators who try to cut corners face "unlimited fines" and up to five years' imprisonment.

"I want this country to end its 'dump and forget' culture," he added.

But Mr Lewis told BBC News large parts of Snowdonia National Park were "very remote, not looked over by housing or development, and people can just get off the beaten track, dump their rubbish without being seen and get away again".

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23 Apr 04  |  Oxfordshire

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