Fly-tipping is a perennial problem in our area, and I have been saddened to see a spate of recent cases. It ruins our otherwise green fields, walking routes and hedgerows and endangers the health and lives of animals. It must not be tolerated.
Since my election I have been working with local councillors to tackle litter and have joined in local litter pick events. It has been great to join the volunteers who pull on their gloves, grab their litter pickers and come together to clean up our community.
Sadly fly-tipping is an increasing blight on our precious countryside by a small number of selfish individuals. You will not be surprised to learn that nationally, locating, managing, and removing waste left by fly-tipping costs us about £600 million a year. That’s without factoring in the personal impact that fly-tipping has on neighbourhoods and streets.
While Kent County Council and Sevenoaks District Council are working closely to quickly clear incidents of fly-tipping reported to them, I am clear that the individuals who dump their waste and spoil the countryside for the rest of us should face the full force of the law.
Sevenoaks District Council have been leading the charge in this area, and in 2017 set up an environmental investigation – the first of its kind in Kent. Due to the recent trends, I am pleased they have also now created a new role to specifically investigate fly-tipping crimes on both Sevenoaks Council land as well as the Kent County Council Highways.
We all continue to have a role to play and I am working with police, residents and local and county councils to see what more can be done. In addition, I urge all residents to ensure your waste is removed by a licensed waste carrier. If in doubt, you can check credentials by calling the Environment Agency for free on 08708 506506. Remember, if your waste is illegally dumped, you are responsible and might be getting a visit from the environmental officer – so please do protect yourself and the countryside.
As we move into the warmer months and begin to enjoy a return to normal life, I am committed to ensuring that residents can enjoy the beautiful countryside that makes Sevenoaks such a special place to live. I will continue to be a strong voice for residents to help push for coordination amongst all authorities for speedier removal and enforcement actions, and I urge residents to report incidents as soon as they see it. Together we will tackle this selfish behaviour.