Around 37 sacks of rubble, thick-sheet foam insulation board fragments and other rubbish have been fly-tipped very close to a patch of rare plant on Bexley Council-owned land at the far east end of Thames Road Wetland, some time between 11th and 29th August.
The wetland is within the River Cray Site of Metropolitan Interest for Nature Conservation, an area volunteers spend hundreds of hours a year maintaining for its high wildlife value, and a mere 166 metres from the official Council waste disposal and recycling centre on Thames Road.
The matter has been reported to both Bexley Council and the Crayford Safer Neighbourhood Police Team. At the same time I am asking what progress has been made chasing down the culprits for two previous incidents earlier this year involving the adjacent Pallet Yard and River Wansunt, for both of which evidence, in the form of paperwork with a name and address was found. As Bexley’s website makes clear ‘Householders’ duty of care: Waste that is not correctly disposed of and is deposited on land is classed as fly-tipping and anyone found guilty can face fines of up to £50,000 or up to 12 months imprisonment through the Magistrates’ court. Anyone who takes waste away for you must hold a Waste Carriers Licence and as a resident you are responsible for making sure that you only employ someone that has a licence. Licences can be checked on the Environment Agency’s waste carriers register.’
The culprits on this occasion are likely to be the same people responsible for at least one of the other two crimes. With the Council having (belatedly) locked down the access gate, those responsible – no longer able to drive up over the sewer bank and dump the material out of sight on the privately-owned Pallet Yard in time-honoured fashion – have instead got the stuff over the fence, carted it up the track far enough to be hidden from the road behind some bushes and left it at that.
We have been continuing to remove historic fly-tipping from around the Wetland in the winter when the vegetation has died back, and it is dispiriting to have this work undone by low-lives with no respect for the places other creatures live or other people’s work to protect them.
Chris Rose. Thames Road Wetland Site Manager.