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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
West: Rubbished
Paul Barltrop
Paul Barltrop
The Politics Show
BBC West

Rubbish skip
Rubbish dumping affects town and country

It is getting tougher to get rid of rubbish. Householders are more restricted than ever over what can go in bins.

Businesses face soaring costs for disposing of their waste. So the unscrupulous are increasingly dumping it in the West's streets or countryside.

There are plenty of horror stories. Jonny Walker is a farmer in North Wiltshire.

It is not just rubbish that is being left on his land near Chippenham, but burnt-out cars and other dangerous materials.

"A few months ago we had a large amount of asbestos tipped at one favourite tipping spot," he says.

"The palaver involved in having someone involved in coming to collect it was so great that in the end I paid for a local recycling centre to come and pick it up."

The number of cases of fly-tipping reported to the authorities each year is 500,000 - and expected to rise.

Experts reckon the amount businesses have to pay to get rid of their waste could rise by as much as 800% in the next decade.

CLA concerned

It is a big worry for members of the Country Landowners and Business Association, whose members have to pay to clear rubbish off their land.

"It is very expensive now, it gets more expensive every year as the land fill charges go up.

"It is the same with domestic rubbish, white goods, fridges; they cannot just be disposed of in the normal way," says spokesman Henry Aubrey-Fletcher.

"The difficulty with fly-tipping in the countryside is it is almost impossible to catch people."

Urban areas also suffer. Thousands of incidents of fly-tipping were recorded last year in the West's cities and towns.

Fly-tipping incidents 2005
Bristol 3753
Swindon 1532
Gloucester 967
Taunton 277

Doing something about it is the problem. Swindon's Conservative-run council has faced criticism from its Labour MPs for lack of hard action.

Local authorities were given new powers under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act which came into effect in April 2005.

Since then in the town just two people have been caught and punished.

Councils vigilant

But officials insist they are doing what it can.

"With the best will in the world the council cannot watch every street 24 hours a day," says Steve Harcourt.

"We need the people to give us the information so we can pursue the people responsible for fly-tipping."

Down the road Bristol is braced.

A new waste disposal regime is starting; householders' rubbish will only be collected every fortnight.

The hope is that people can be persuaded to recycle more. If not, it could be a long, hot summer of fly-tipping.

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