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The worst places in Kent for fly-tipping

There were almost 20,000 incidents of fly-tipping across Kent in the last municipal year.

Rubbish has been dumped in farmer's gateways, in back alleys, on public footpaths, and sometimes just in the middle of the road in country lanes as tipper-trucks drive along slowly dumping their load as they go.

Robin Edwards, the south east regional director of the Country Land and Business Association, said that fly-tipping was causing enormous harm to the environment as well as costing a fortune to clean up.

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Fly-tipped waste in School Lane, Iwade
Fly-tipped waste in School Lane, Iwade

He said: "It's a widespread problem over the whole of Kent and is having a big impact on the public purse."

The Medway Towns have seen the greatest number of incidents with 3,525 call-outs; Swale had the second highest with 2,610, and Dartford was third with 2,366.

In contrast, Tonbridge and Malling had only 507 incidents.

Mr Edwards said one of the worrying elements was the dumping of asbestos, with 152 incidents recorded.

He said: "That can be hugely damaging, both to health and the environment."

If the asbestos were dumped in a farmer's field, it could mean a whole crop has to be destroyed.

White goods - refrigerators, washing machines, tumble dryers and the like - were also a problem - with 332 such machines dumped in Dartford alone.

Mr Edwards said: "If the refrigerant leaks out, it can be very difficult to clean up."

Another surprising factor was the dumping of animal carcasses.

Mr Edwards said: "That's just sad that people don't dispose of their animals properly."

Here there are clearly big local factors at work.

Of the 275 animal carcasses dumped across the county, 11 boroughs had only three or fewer, but two boroughs counted for all the rest: Dartford with 164 and Gravesham with 99.

Rubbish blocking Bockingford Lane in Maidstone earlier this year
Rubbish blocking Bockingford Lane in Maidstone earlier this year

Mr Edwards said the problem was two-fold.

Unscrupulous traders who collected waste for a fee, but dumped it instead of disposing of it properly, and householders, perhaps frustrated that having loaded up their car they have driven to the tip to find it closed, and then just left their waste in a lay-by for someone else to clear up.

He said: "It just creates an ugly eyesore in the countryside and we would ask everyone to think responsibly and act responsibly."

With a million incidents of fly-tipping across the country last year, Mr Edwards said it was time the authorities got tough.

He said: "We need to see more prosecutions."

But he said everyone can do their part.

Robin Edwards (5470964)
Robin Edwards (5470964)

Mr Edwards added: "If you pay a waste carrier to take your rubbish away, ask to see his licence and his waste transfer certificate - all bona fide operators will have one.

"Many people do not realise that you are still responsible for your waste, even if you have paid someone else to collect it.

"So if it's dumped, you could end up with the £5,000 fine."

However, Mr Edwards was optimistic for the future.

He said: "The CLA has been calling for a joint unit to tackle waste crime and one of the things that the Government has agreed recently is to set up this joint unit, so we're really pleased about that."

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