Flytipping and rubbish now hitting cemetery sites across Doncaster
Flytipping and litter are now hitting some of the most sensitive sites in Doncaster – with borough cemeteries hit by the issue.
Concerns over burial sites being spoiled by the growing issue, which council bosses admit is worsening in the borough, were raised in the latest Doncaster Free Press round table discussion, which focused on flytipping and litter.
It is also revealed that officials are considering closing off certain areas to vehicles amid rising levels of tipping.
We’re publishing the discussion in three parts, with part two to appear next week.
Free Press community engagement editor David Kessen chaired the discission. Our panel was Robert Scarborough, Doncaster Council environmental crimes officer; Andy Rutherford, council head of street scene and highways operations; Nigel Cannings, litter pick organiser in Tickhill; John Brooks, council enforcement officer, Bex Shaw, Doncaster Green Team; Jackie Dusi, Arksey Ladies Community Group; Clarissa Jackson, Warmsworth Environmental Group; and Gaynor Spencer, Keeping Rossington Tidy.
How much of a problem is litter and flytipping for our communities and what sort of problems are we seeing it create?
Clarissa Jackson: Flytipping I think is huge at the moment. In Bassetlaw, they are putting skips in villages for the public to fill, as a free service. The problem is horrendous. In Warmsworth you’ve got issues at Broomhouse Lane, Lords Head Lane, and Common Lane. At the hairpin bends going down towards Sprotbrough, there’s a fence that’s breached quite often because unfortunately highways won’t put bollards in front of it, and where we see boilers and trade waste dumped. The other thing, which is a major concern, is Guest Lane cemetery, near where there is a big fly tipping site. The last thing you want if you’re going to visit someone in a cemetery is flytipping. You’re going to visit someone in a cemetery, and there is a load of litter. I think we need some covert cameras. It’s all right residents coming to me, and me ringing it in to the council and getting it removed, but they’re not ringing themselves. We’ve got cards printed to give out but no one is prepared to ring it in.
Jackie Dusi: Where we are we’ve had a spate of dead horses. It costs £100 for someone to take them away. They may charge the council even more to remove a dead animal. You see trucks full of conifers, take the number, report it, and then hear its false plates.
CJ: We have gated lanes in Edlington which have been reported to the council, and the locks needing mending. You get a lane full of rubbish. So even when they’re gated it doesn’t solve the problem. We have to work together I don’t think there’s a lot you can do about littering except litter picking yourselves.
JD: We cleared Arksey Cemetery. We found beer bottles in there. I picked up 30 bags of bagged up dog poo. There is a grass verge. I found a fast food cup, and there were two bags of what we thought was cocaine in there. We reported all that to the police. We also found in the cemetery a home made knife, a stick with a knife blade on the end. The police lady said criminals slash bags with them. So you’re there in the cemetery, visiting your relatives, and someone nicks you bag. Again, its open dawn until dusk. I get calls saying ‘there is someone in the cemetery, will you report it?’ Why don’t they report it? The trouble is people don’t want to stand up and be counted and that’s part of the problem.
Gaynor Spencer: In Rossington, there’s one lane where people seem to dump rubbish, where you can see it just past the cemetery. It’s an eyesore and you don’t want to see it when you’re visiting your relatives. I also think we need more bins around Rossington, bins for cans and bins for bottles. I think we need to educated people to put things in the bins. We need bins in the shops area. It’s annoying and its frustrating.
Bex Shaw: “I think education is the key. We need to be going more into schools and things like that. I have a friend who lives near Balby Carr School, and its a case of follow the trail of cans and sweet wrappers to the school.
GS: It is similar in Rossington.
BS: In the school holidays, when everyone has been off, you can guarantee the litter problem will be a lot worse.
JD: The school can address that. I worked at Adwick School and on a Wednesday I used to take the kids out litter picking. There were kids that were in trouble for whatever reason, and we went out litter picking in the area with someone from Adwick Council, and that did work. Around the school gate, where people went for a crafty smoke, I used to make them pick every cigarette end up. Later, if one of their mates was chucking a dog end down, they’d say ‘don’t do that, I’m picking litter this week’. We called it restorative justice. I’d like to see the unemployed out litter picking, too.
BS: There is a big thing with flytipping in the Hyde Park area and the Balby area. There are properties with alleys at the back where there is flytipping. People say why can’t we have cameras?
CJ: They did put cameras up in Edlington, but within a few days they were down. I’m not saying its a bad idea and I’d like them at the cemetery.
BS: People are getting annoyed.
Robert Scarborough: What we’re trying to do from an enforcement point of view is focus on social responsibility, making people responsible for their waste. When we’re investigating, we often find people are giving their waste away to unregistered waste carriers, and what has happened is it gets taken from someone’s domestic property and ends up getting flytipped in the lanes. When we go out and search through the rubbish, we find details of the individual. We try to work with the individual to try to find out who it is they have given the waste to. We often find people don’t actually know who it was. They had not made any checks. They have just given them a few pounds to take the rubbish away. We are trying to highlight that by taking action against people who are not taking their duty of care. That is a crime. We are trying to make people responsible for their own waste and using our recycling centre.
Restrictions on recycling centres have been lifted. Now you can go as many times as you like with rubble, but you can only take five bags at a time. It is only for household waste.
BS: But what can people do who cannot afford to pay to have things taken away?
RS: What the council does offer, is if you in receipt of housing benefit of council tax support is a bulky items collection, which means you can get eight items removed for £16.50. It is normally £33.
I think it is better to educate people than provide skips.
CJ: I heard Hexthorpe had skips. Why have they had them and other areas haven’t?
RS: I’m not aware that we’re providing skips.
Andy Rutherford: There were bins put in at Hexthorpe, but they’ve been taken out now because they were attracting trade waste. There was garden waste and concrete, and it meant they were having trouble lifting them to empty them.
RS: We found businesses abused them, filling them up and then they were useless
BS: What about community days where local residents get together?
John Brooks: Putting information to the community in different languages is something that we’re working on.
AR: The way forward is to work with the community and have days of action and weeks of action, where we get as many people together to make a difference. It’s not just about clearing up – it’s about education and getting the messages across, and making it clear what we expect in these areas, and the standard of behaviour. The national trend is clearly getting worse. The level of flytipping nationally over the last five years is up 40 per cent. I think pulling everyone together can make a difference. We are no different to other areas. We have more and more flytips to move. We recently had a week of action were we put a lot of staff in across the council and cleared a backlog, but it may creep up again. We need a sustainable approach and we are looking at closing off some areas, with gates, ditches, boulders or steel girders to stop people using these sites. We can’t do that on our own and have to work with farmers and landowners.