PCC TARGETS FLY-TIPPING IN MONTH LONG RURAL CAMPAIGN
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott has launched a campaign focussing on rural crime in Kent. He’s spent the last few days speaking to farmers, parish councils and residents, to gauge what matters to them. He has seen shocking fly-tipping sites and heard how illegal off-road bikers are destroying fields and crops.
He’s also telling people to respect where they live: keep dogs on the lead around livestock, close farmers’ gates if you’re out walking on rural paths and bridleways.
Farmers report that cases of industrial fly-tipping has increased during the pandemic, with many local authority waste tips closed or restricted and fewer people out to report illegal activities. Figures from Kent County Council show that fly-tipping increased by 15.5% in the last seven years. In the South East as a whole, it rose by just over 8%.
Matthew Scott, PCC, says,
“Crime is important no matter where it takes place and I want to promote a safer countryside. Fly-tipping is a blight on our county and I’ve been appalled at its scale. The clean-up costs not only the farmer, but also the taxpayer and it contaminates the fields in which grow our crops.
I’ve also been out with the specialist Rural Crime Task Force, to see how they target vehicles they suspect are being used to dump waste illegally.
Over the course of this month I’ll also be looking at a wide range of rural issues, from road safety and antisocial behaviour to agricultural thefts and thefts from sheds and gardens. I’m hearing about more cases of off-road bikes, often ridden by children, trespassing and tearing up fields and local lanes.”
The Commissioner’s campaign is being supported by numerous countryside groups in Kent.
Amanda Corp from the NFU says,
“We’ve seen more and more evidence of both private and industrial waste dumping, because of Covid. Quite often people are using bogus waste removal companies. They take your money, but they’re not genuine and they just come and dump your waste in farmers’ fields. This waste then contaminates the fields that feed our livestock and produce your food.”
The Office of the PCC all this month is running a Rural social media campaign, working with our partners to increase awareness as well as promoting apps which help the public report crime. If you would like to speak to the Commissioner about this, please call us. We also have photographs of some of the fly-tipping we’ve witnessed ourselves.