Fly-tipping ‘scourge of the countryside’ amid lockdown

The Countryside Alliance Ireland is concerned about what the impact of excess rubbish generated over the lockdown period could have on rural areas in Northern Ireland, which is often falls victim to fly-tippers.

The rural campaigning group are asking the public to remember that fly-tipping is not a victimless crime and has a significant impact on rural areas and wildlife.

Many local authorities have had to shut waste recycling centres at this time and are concentrating on keeping kerbside collections going.

The group have published the following advice:

Getting rid of your waste during COVID-19

If you are having a clear out, please:

Keep your waste at home until you are able to dispose of it legally; or
Use a registered waste carrier; and
Remember, you can be prosecuted for fly-tipping.

Local authorities are ultimately responsible for household waste and we advise the public to check with your local authority for up-to-date information on collection and recycling centres.

Gary McCartney, Director of Countryside Alliance Ireland said: “It shouldn’t need saying that driving to dump rubbish at the side of the road or in the countryside is not essential travel. Not only are you committing an offence by littering, but you are also ignoring guidance that has been introduced to stop the spread of this dangerous virus. Keeping up to date with the latest guidance from your local council in relation to refuse collection is very important. The images of fly-tipping, though horrendous, are an all too familiar sight. Please, in these uncertain times, plan out any household activity that could generate excess amounts of rubbish in line with the guidance being put out by your local council regarding waste collection.

“With no near end to the lockdown in sight, local authorities will need to assess the feasibility of re-opening recycling centres. While it does seem like the most obvious answer to stopping fly-tipping, social distancing guidelines and staff safety will no doubt form a big part in the decision to re-open. We also can’t risk people filling up a car with rubbish and being turned away only for it to then be dumped elsewhere, illegally because centres can’t cope. The re-opening of recycling centres by Mid and East Antrim council will serve as important case study for other local authorities. If successful, other authorities may be more likely to re-open their centres too. We really hope it’s a success”

He added: “If you need to hire a private refuse collection service, please ensure they are a registered waste collector first. We are fully aware that rogue operators profit from charging cheap fees, who then dump the rubbish in the countryside. They often advertise on social media and offer deals that some find tempting. In reality, this comes at a massive cost to both the environment and tax-payer, while farmers have to pay even more to have the rubbish on their land removed privately. There can never be an excuse for fly-tipping, please help us stop it”.

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