People in Birmingham and the Black Country are being urged to help combat illegal fly tipping along the region’s canals, after over £100,000 has been spent to tackle the issue in the last year. The call comes from the Canal & River Trust – the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England & Wales – which is appealing to the community to report incidents when they see them.
The problem has become more serious recently with an increase in the size and amount of waste being dumped including, in one area, harmful corrosive chemicals being poured onto the towpath. Other items that have been left on towpaths across the West Midlands include 100s of car tyres, household rubbish, traffic cones and fence panels.
In addition to the dangers fly tipping poses to people and the cost involved in clearing it, the Trust is also concerned about the impact it could have on the huge array of wildlife such as otters, water voles and kingfishers that make their homes along the waterways
Samantha Bucknall, from the Canal & Trust, says: “It’s got to the stage where enough is enough, this rubbish is someone else’s legal responsibility. “The money that we have to spend clearing up other people’s rubbish is money that could be much better spent caring for our beautiful waterways, improving habitats for wildlife and protecting our wonderful canals for local people and visitors to enjoy.
“Fly tippers are criminals so we wouldn’t encourage people to approach them directly but if they have any information then we would urge them to pass it on to West Midlands Police so that it can be investigated. With help from the local community we can put an end to this dangerous and irresponsible activity which damages the local environment, prevents people from being able to enjoy their local waterways and wastes money which could otherwise be spent improving canals in the area”. Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the West Midlands waterways partnership, said: “Left unchecked fly tipping would spoil our lovely canals and it needs to stop. There is no excuse for fly tipping and I would urge anyone who see’s anyone acting suspiciously or chucking their rubbish onto the canal to report it so that action can be taken.”
Fly-tipping is a criminal offence that can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years imprisonment. In 2014/15 there were 1,810 prosecutions against waste offenders in England and over 98% of fly-tipping incidents that resulted in a conviction or fine.
To volunteer, donate or for more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust please visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
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