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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Fly boys

I need to be a little circumspect here, in sharing this tale. Thirty years ago as a young professional when first I came to London to work the first Docklands construction boom was in full swing. We were doing works there that produced considerable amounts of demolition and excavation waste, and my first job was to find a haulage contractor for the 'muckaway' work. I did all the due diligence and found a licensed, certificated firm with a small fleet of tipper wagons offering rapid response and a very attractive rate. Soon they started moving sixty tonnes a day or so of soil and rubble, to general satisfaction. 

What I didn't know at the time was the destination. It turned out they were fly-tipping the lot in a 4 mile radius from the other end of the Blackwall tunnel; for many south Londoners, the Docklands boom meant overnight piles of spoil appearing on every scrap of disused land. The firm's governor was nothing if not smart; he has since held great office in his City guild, is a Freeman of the City of London and is frequently now photographed in dinner suit with a chain of some sort over his shoulders. You see, he also had the contracts at the time with a number of south London councils for the removal of fly-tipped spoil. 

It couldn't happen now, I thought, with every square inch of the Metropolis covered by CCTV cameras, but the Mail carries a salutory story about a rise in fly tipping; much, it seems, not commercial malpractice but household waste. Some of it, like the bicycle left at the bottle bank or the garden furniture atop a bus shelter are clearly attempts at recycling, but I think I know what's responsible for much of the rest. Ten or fifteen years ago, a household skip was a fairly good-value service, costing about a hundred quid all-in. Today in London you'd be hard pushed to get a 6yd skip for under £250, and face a Council 'license' fee of at least £50 on top. Visits to the Council dump are rationed and regulated. So people do exactly as you'd expect - they fly-tip for free. And the more that Councils charge, the greater the volume of fly tips. 

Hey ho.


Dee Spairing said...

Remember when no country lane was complete without its rag-tag collection of old fridges after EU directives on landfill and recycling? Sadly it was the CONservatives who passed the legislation; they should have known better, though Government never does, it seems.

Anonymous said...

I recently walked two miles to my local Recycling Centre to deposit some small items of electrical equipment.

I was rebuked by one of the attendants. Pedestrians are not permitted, I was told, and I should have arrived in a car.

As I turned to carry the items home again, he relented and allowed me to drop them into the relevant skip.

Anonymous said...

We're back to Libby Purves' "rocks and rivers". She rightly said that "if you throw a rock into a river, does the river come to a stop?" No, of course not; it simply flows around the rock and it does so in very short order. And so it is with people. Put obstacles in their way and they will quickly find a way around it.

The only evidence I have that this situation has improved in some way is the repealing of laws under the "localism act" of 2011, where the nonsense from Labours overweening refuse laws was revoked. Other than that, we still don't have enough easy collection and drop off sites, like they do in France, for example.

Coney Island

G. Tingey said...

Visits to the Council dump are rationed and regulated.
Are you really sure about that?
I was under the impression that I could go down @ any time & give them "stuff" - which is why I can't understand the fly-tippers. [ WHich reminds me - gor a small pile to dispose of ... ]
Or am I missing something?
Or is it that some people are idle, useless lazy gits who wouldn't do a proper job, even if they were paid to?

Raedwald said...

Greg - below excerpt from my council's dump rules. Fine for you and me to understand, but there's a lot of people who'd rather fly tip than be turned away by a jobsworth for not having the requisite forms of ID ....

DIY waste and rubble will not be accepted as it is classified as construction and demolition waste.

No trade waste allowed including waste removed by private contractor on behalf of a resident.

Examples of non-acceptable items are:

window frames
sacks of general DIY waste
kitchen units
concrete fence posts
water tanks

We are also unable to accept soil and stones. Whilst every effort is made to accept as much and varied waste types as possible, the site is licensed by the Environment Agency and has to work within laid down parameters.

To dispose of DIY waste, rubble, soil and stones you might consider hiring a skip or hippo bags, or contacting a licensed waste carrier.
ID and proof of address

Only Lewisham residents are entitled to use the facility. As a result of this you will need to provide both proof of identity and proof of residency when visiting the site.

Our operatives will need to see original documentation proving this before they can allow you to access the site.
Documents that provide both proof of ID and proof of address:

Photo driving licence
Blue badge parking permit

Please note: out of date permits will not be accepted.

The following documentation must be used in conjunction with one another and you will need one type of each.
Proof of identity:

Work ID
Gym membership with photo
Medical card
National insurance card
Credit/debit card.

Proof of address:

Gas, electricity or telephone bill, no more than four months old
Water bill, no more than 12 months old
Bank/credit card/ building society statement, no more than four months old
Current council rent book or council tenancy agreement
Council tax bill, less than 12 months old
Housing association tenancy agreement or housing association rent book.

Please note: no other form of address or identity will be accepted.
Additional Information

Vehicles with inappropriate loads will be rejected.

All vehicles may be subject to inspection of their load prior to admission to the centre and throughout unloading.

Vans that have a combination of unacceptable and acceptable loads, e.g. DIY waste and green waste, will be rejected.

Vans are allowed in four times per financial year regardless of place of origin. All vehicles will be monitored and enforcement action taken if the number of visits is abused.

Residents who hire a van and drive it themselves will be allowed on to site.

No trailers allowed or open backed vehicles are allowed.

No commercial vehicles are permitted to use the site, other than authorised contractors, where the centre may be closed for a period for health and safety reasons.

'Man and van' vehicles are not allowed on site, even if hired by a resident. Any waste transported in this matter is classed as trade waste, because it is being dealt with on a hire and reward basis.

If a resident hires a man and van they are advised that they will no longer be able to bring that waste into the centre and the waste carrier is responsible, along with the resident, to ensure the waste is disposed of properly.

English Pensioner said...

Our council allows you to take anything you like, except asbestos, to the local tip if it is carried in a car. I have a small trailer and prefer to put the garden waste in this rather than in the back of the car (banned by my wife ever since a friend got a mouse in the car from a bag of waste!). To take a trailer to the tip, I have to get a permit after filling in an on-line application form giving details of the waste and wait for it to come through the post. My son-in-law who runs a two seater is able to borrow his employer's van for a week-end, but they won't let him use it without payment even though it is home garden waste. No wonder there is tipped rubbish along our lanes, it's far easier.

Billy Marlene said...

I made my final visit to our local Recycling centre about a year ago. Amongst other things I had a box of old CDs.

A brush leaning josworth (one of four) ordered me to retrieve them from the skip where he watched me toss them. I was then informed that I must split the CD, Case and paper Insert and put them in three separate skips.

With about thirty CDs this took a bit of time.

As I was leaving, an elderly lady asked one of the jobsworths for help lifting a box from her boot. 'Sorry, 'elf 'n safety' was the predictable reply. I assisted the lady; oddly enough I suffered no injury.

I lament the passing of our old fashioned dump. A few years ago it was manned by a 'Licensed Totter'. As you drove up to the gate he would appear from his shed; 'Just drop it there, mate'. It was always a great pleasure looking in the rear view mirror and observing this chap surgically dissecting what was rubbish to me but treasure to him.

I hope he is now enjoying a well earned retirement on the Algarve.

Anonymous said...

As always the messages from government are mixed. The 'good' citizen would reuse, recycle or dispose of locally, yet every obstacle is put in place to prevent this happening from 'security' screws on appliances through to identity cards to access 'recycling centres.

There ought to be managed scavenging yards where unwanted items could be safely left and open for others to safely recover what they want. Most items had VAT paid on them, why not consider a partial VAT rebate on disposal. If, say, £10 was paid back for a washing machine why would anyone dump it?

So many penalties and regulations are put in the away of people who want to do the 'right' thing that it makes it easier to be 'bad'.

Anonymous said...

£250 for a 6yd skip! The last time I hired one, which was several years ago, it cost me around £370 (inc. VAT). At least I could get it on the drive and not have go through the merry dance with the council for leaving it on the road.

Bill Quango MP said...

Father in law Quango, also a Lewisham resident, used to pay the tip man so they could dump their docklands building waste.
It ended up where the O2 is now.

Luckily for him he was also still employed when the work came to remove all the toxic waste to build the Millennium Dome.

Double Bubble

Anonymous said...

Why don't the people otherwise known as the poor bloody or bloody impoverished put upon rate payers..... just dump the town hall stasi aka councils?

Lets go back to real blokes who want to help. Help, not prosecute you, to fine you and to hammer the law abiding whilst the Pakis and from petty to major crime barons ie law breakers do as they fucking well please.
lo and here - you know what I am talking about - everything from drug pushing, kiddie pimping to dumping rubbish - the police and the local council Mafiosi - grant 'them' [see above] carte blanche to do as they damn well wish, while you and me jump through hoops to dump minor stuff at our OWN EXPENSE - WTF is going on and why do we put up with it?

Anonymous said...

I thought that Bromley was bad, until I went to Croydon (just inside)...

...But Lewisham puts them both to shame.

Of course you realise why this is happening!

It is our "old friend" the EU with its "Landfilll Directive"...

The councils have to pay Landfill tax, for every cubic meter that they dump, so they make it as hard as possible for their "VOTERS" to dump rubbish, otherwise the taxes would rise.

The original reason for the TAXES, was to provide SERVICES, none of which seem to be on offer any longer.

Unless of course you need a refresher course in "climate change management" or some diversity training.

G. Tingey said...
Note that it was "getting better" until very recently, now it is getting worse again.

That Lewisham list is effing ridiculous ...
That would certainly explain it - I mean don't they WANT the recycling stuff?

Of course, if I go to my local dump, I'm driving my own car - an ancient Land-Rover ... oddly enough, no-one seems to be worried about ID etc - funny that.

Weekend Yachtsman said...


I haven't been to our local "coup" for a couple of weeks, but I am pretty sure there are no rules like these, or if there are, nobody bothers with them.

You turn up, wave cheerily to the attendant (unless it's raining, when he won't come out of his cabin), dump whatever you've brought in the appropriate skip, and depart. If it's a fridge or a TV or something you have to roust the guy out and get him to unlock the container.

But nobody bothers with ID or worries about where you live.

At a large neighbouring town the dump has a sign saying only residents of the county are entitled to use it, but I have never heard of anybody checking, and I go there a couple of times a year to get rid used engine oil from the boat.

Altogether a more relaxed regime it seems.