How we can keep our countryside beautiful

I am really proud to be involved with, and supporting, the Surrey Environment Partnership to help raise awareness of the problems associated with fly-tipping and of course the importance in keeping Surrey’s countryside beautiful. If you live or work in Surrey, or care about our environment, I would urge you to please take a look at their website, which contains an abundance of information related to creating a greener, cleaner Surrey – of course the advice applies to other counties too! I would really appreciate your support by reading their informative post and taking on board the important points and recommendations discussed:

We are really fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful countryside and it is so important to protect this and keep it clean. (Photo: Country Rambles)

Keeping Surrey’s countryside beautiful – a guest post by the Surrey Environment Partnership

In Surrey we’re blessed with some of the country’s most beautiful countryside. It provides us with a place to get some space away from busy lives, to get close to nature and clear our heads. Which is why we, the Surrey Environment Partnership, are doing what we can to help Surrey’s residents keep the countryside free of fly-tipping.

Before we get started, it’s worth actually defining what fly-tipping is and how it’s different from littering. Fly-tipping, although it’s classified differently throughout the country, is generally considered to be dumped waste of anything from a black bin bag in size upwards. While rubbish left outside charity shops or beside recycling banks is considered fly-tipping, most of it takes place in the countryside on private or local authority-managed land. This second type – the more problematic kind of fly-tipping – is usually done by professional criminals, who often have links to other types of organised crime.

We’re going to take a wild guess and presume that most Country Rambles readers aren’t professional fly-tippers, so you may be wondering what this has got to do with you. However, if your waste is fly-tipped by someone else, it could actually be you who is fined for it. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help avoid it from happening.

Most fly-tips involve large-scale waste from building works, including home improvement projects such as attic conversions, extensions, gardening jobs and new driveways. Those who actually do the fly-tipping are likely to be either the trader who carries out the work on your home, someone they sub-contract to dispose of the waste or someone who knocks door-to-door and offers to take waste away.

If you are having work done on your home or garden, make sure your trader is a registered waste carrier before you employ them. You can check if they are on the Environment Agency’s website. If they’re not, don’t use them. You should also be particularly vigilant if a trader knocks on your door and offers to take your waste away or only advertises their services on Gumtree or Facebook.

If they are registered, you should also make sure you get a receipt for waste that they take away. You could also note down the make, model and registration number of the vehicle they take your waste away in. You might also ask your trader what they intend to do with your waste. These might be difficult questions to ask but if you do so before you agree to anything, you can make sure you get the right answers before work begins.

If you’ve carried out these measures and your waste is found to be fly-tipped, it’s unlikely you’d be fined. But if you didn’t and the authorities were able to trace the waste back to you, you could be hit with a £400 fine.

You might not even need to find a trader to take your waste away. Your council provides several options for disposing of large-scale waste. You could take it to your local community recycle centre, order a bulky waste collection from your local council or donate usable items to a charity or the Surrey Reuse Network, or you could pass them on to someone else using a free online service such as Freecycle.

You can also help reduce fly-tipping by reporting it when you see it. If you see it when it’s happening, call 999 and ask for the police and if a road is blocked, contact Surrey County Council. If you’ve found waste that has already been dumped, you need to contact your local council, which will investigate it and plan its removal.

As a partnership that brings together Surrey County Council and the county’s 11 district and borough councils to manage Surrey’s waste, we’re working hard to prevent fly-tipping. We run regular campaigns across the county to increase knowledge about fly-tipping and we work with local councils to improve reporting of fly-tipping, share intelligence and link with other organisations such as the police and the Environment Agency.

Local councils are also tackling fly-tippers head-on. Everyone who has been charged with fly-tipping in Surrey has been prosecuted. Punishments include fines of up to £50,000, up to 12 months in prison, unpaid community service and fly-tippers may have to pay legal costs and could have the vehicle they used to fly-tip crushed.

We want to work with our residents to reduce fly-tipping and help to keep Surrey’s incredible countryside clean. We hope you can help us in our work and look forward to sharing Surrey’s countryside with you so we can all enjoy its benefits.

You can find out all you need to know about fly-tipping in Surrey on the Surrey Environment Partnership’s website.

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