Both arable and livestock farms face severe financial repercussions as a result, but we cannot equate our challenges to those catastrophic events wreaking havoc upon communities in other parts of the world.
These include the fires raging out of control across Australia, the volcano which erupted in New Zealand, monsoon rains flooding Nepal, Sumatra, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Burma; all resulting in the loss of human lives. Also not to be forgotten was the massacre of villagers and farm livestock just before Christmas in Mali, West Africa.
We are very fortunate to live in the UK, where with obvious exceptions, we rarely have to face such catastrophic events. When nature does conspire to throw our lives into chaos, there are established public services and our communities at hand to support and help to repair the damage and get us back on our feet.
I rarely agree with Jeremy Paxman but wearing his Patron of ‘Clean Up Britain’ hat, I make an exception, as on the subject of fly-tipping he has been talking sense.
Town Councils are calling upon the courts to hit fly-tippers with fines of tens of thousands of pounds, and tougher sentences are called for to deter the criminals responsible for dumping not only their rubbish but other people’s as well. For which they charge heavily.
Mr Paxman suggests that instead of spending millions cleaning up after fly-tippers, the Government stops incentivising them to dump their rubbish illegally by making it free for them to use waste disposal centres, and fund local councils properly so they can provide an unrestricted and accessible cost-free service.
At the end of the last financial year, there were nearly 1.1 million incidents of fly-tipping in England alone; the number of cases having risen by 400,000 in the past six years. This escalating unacceptable situation has coincided with local councils reducing household rubbish collection, and restricting access to waste disposal sites at the same time as raising charges to prohibitive and off putting levels.
Just about every farmer I know has experienced fly-tipping on their land; we had three large loads dumped in 2019 which we reported to the council, but were never contacted or supported.
Almost without exception as you travel along any Sussex lane or highway, you will come across rubbish and builders rubble strewn along the kerbside or dumped in gateways.
Yes, offenders should be hit hard where it hurts but they strike at night, are rarely traced and time spent is costly. It is essential that additional accessible council tips are created and manned with less aggressive gatekeepers who currently make it almost impossible to gain access unless you are armed with your passport, a wad of cash and driving nothing bigger than a two door eco-friendly Mini.
The root of the trouble is the lack of waste disposal facilities, particularly in our region which is so heavily populated. The congested roads make any work related journey a major problem. Time spent carting rubbish from places of work to a tip where the cost is exorbitant if you can gain access, is dead money and eats into profits. It is little wonder our countryside and verges are littered with trash and heaps of rubbish like some third world country.
It is entertaining to watch the line-up of Labour hopefuls throwing their hats into the ring as they vie to replace the hapless Jeremy Corbyn. Amongst their ranks so far, there are similarly to when the Conservative party was replacing Mrs May, a number of misfits with alto-egos who will no doubt fall by the wayside. Time will tell!