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Opinion : How could fly tipping be stopped in High Wycombe?

| February 7, 2021

Fly tipped waste in Abercrombie Avenue, High Wycombe. (Archive picture)

It seems the menace of fly tipping in Buckinghamshire is in the news once again.

You may have seen the article that appeared in the news section of this site recently headlined ‘Modern day battle against fly tipping and antisocial behaviour being fought at historic Desborough Castle site in High Wycombe‘.

So why has fly tipping become such a problem in the Desborough Castle area and throughout High Wycombe in general and how could it be stopped?

Well, perhaps there are several clues in the news article itself? Indeed one of the quotes in the news article says ‘…. there’s really no excuse for the regular fly-tipping when our own High Heavens waste site is less than 2.5 miles away and takes most of the household waste we see dumped for free….’.

As anyone who lives in High Wycombe will tell you Desborough Castle is served by the No. 33 bus which, during normal times, is one of the busiest and most frequent services in the town. Perhaps it’s fair to assume that many people in the Desborough Castle area don’t have cars so how will they get their waste the ‘less that 2.5 mile‘ distance to the recycling centre at High Heavens? Indeed the nearest bus stop to High Heavens in Clay Lane is quite a distance from the area where waste can be disposed of.

For larger items residents can book a ‘bulky waste collection‘ from the Council which starts at a current cost of £45 for up to three items (a reduced fee is available for those in receipt of income related benefits, most disappointingly the Council website does not publicly say what the reduced fee is). At full cost its £45 even if you only have one item or waste to dispose of.

Let’s put the £45 ‘bulky waste collection’ cost into perspective. After consulting the ‘Price Finder’ page on the website of a leading mailing services provider it seems that if the maximum length of the waste (when wrapped) is 150cm, the maximum weight is 30Kg and the combined length + girth is no more than 300cm then it could be sent to an address anywhere in the UK as a ‘large parcel’ using an express tracked service with 2 working days delivery guaranteed and with up to £100 for loss or damage at a cost of just £44.22! For a small extra charge the service provider may even be able to collect the parcel containing the waste from your house.

As you can see from the paragraph above, for just one item only, the ‘bulky waste collection’ service is cost inefficient even though using it is the responsible thing to do.

How can it cost so much simply to get something to the short distance to the dump at High Heavens when for less a leading UK postal services provider can send it to Scotland or even across the water to Northern Ireland?

Let me make it clear that I do not support or encourage fly tipping at all (or even sending waste to someone else through the post!), however sadly it seems there are people out there who have realised they can just put waste out in a public place and eventually it will be disposed of for free by the same people who would have charged £45, the only cost being the risk of prosecution for fly tipping if they are caught.

My good self has heard reports that near to the Desborough Castle area there are unlicensed Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO). Clearly an ordinary black bin is not enough for a house with so many residents. The extra waste has to go somewhere, perhaps some of it is finding it’s way to the wooded area at the ancient hill fort?

It seems that waste disposal has become a money making exercise for the powers that be indeed there is a whole list of ‘non-household’ items that are now chargeable if taken to a Household Recycling Centre (HRC).

For example, it’s £6 for a toilet cistern and another £6 for a toilet pan, but there is some good news through as a toilet pan, cistern and seat (when dumped together) is only £12 so if you have a whole toilet to get rid of the seat seemingly ‘goes free’!

There is only a finite amount of waste in High Wycombe, perhaps rather than charging to dispose of waste the powers that be should start collecting waste from peoples homes for free?

If every house was given three free ‘bulky waste collections’ a year perhaps the problem of domestic fly tipping would disappear?

In my opinion some of the problems with fly tipping may have been caused by the powers that be themselves by 1) Providing black bins that are too small possibly to restrict the amount of waste that can be collected from each house, 2) Imposing a ‘dumping tax’ on the disposal of certain types of waste at recycling centres to raise extra cash, 3) Assuming that everyone will ‘recycle’ when some residents don’t want to and as a result the residents who fail to recycle have to rely on one black bin collection every two weeks and 4) Allowing unregulated HMO’s to exist which create more waste than can fit in a normal black bin.

In my opinion it seems we have the bizarre situation where the powers that be are complaining at people dumping waste illegally yet they are imposing costs on the responsible disposal of waste which some citizens may be unable to afford. However as pointed out in my previous blog it could perhaps be argued that elsewhere in the town money is being spent unnecessarily on highway improvement features.

In my view if the powers that be started collecting waste for free directly from houses, with the cost offset from savings in other areas, then perhaps the problem of domestic fly tipping would be eradicated overnight? After all the sad reality is that waste is effectively being collected for free if it’s fly tipped in a public place.

Which is more important, 1) Raising revenue from waste disposal or 2) Having a clean town and protecting ancient features such as the Desborough Castle?

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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