With austerity comes a reduction in waste disposal services and with that comes an increase in fly-tipping.
Since council budgets were cut by central government – Kirklees Council had to scale down its waste disposal services – fly-tipping has increased significantly around Huddersfield.
While fly-tipping is an urban problem, large scale dumping of waste by ‘professional’ fly-tippers has become a massive problem in parks and rural beauty spots.
Their secluded nature means unscrupulous people, often paid to dispose of rubbish, are less likely to be caught.
And wooded spaces on the fringes of Huddersfield are a prime spot for illegal tipping.
We asked our Facebook readers where the worst spots for fly-tipping are across Huddersfield - and I took a tour to see for myself just how bad it is.
I start off at Dalton Bank Nature Reserve, a pretty wooded area with views across Huddersfield and the valleys. It’s four miles from the town centre.
I’m not pleased by the sheer amount of dog poo but I am pleasantly surprised NOT to see any obvious signs of fly-tipping.
Two miles closer to town is Kilner Bank. It’s a another wooded area that’s had a massive problem with fly-tipping evidenced by signs warning you that the area is under 24-hour CCTV surveillance and you can be fined £2,500 for dumping rubbish.
It seems to have discouraged the fly-tippers but the area, which could be an attractive nature spot, is predictably full of litter.
The closest bone fide nature zone to Huddersfield town centre is TP Woods. It’s an absolute gem of a green space with ancient trees, a brook and a fishing lake.
Sadly the fly-tippers have been there. While the majority of the wood is clear of litter – no doubt thanks to volunteers from Friends of TP Woods – the section bordering Gledholt Bank is peppered with rubbish.
Alongside plastic bottles and takeaway cartons there are large compost bags, what look like duvets and a large plastic bag full of what appears to be tubes of wallpaper. Clearly this isn’t just pedestrians littering on their way home.
On the edge of West Yorkshire is the Marsden Moor estate. Its manager the National Trust says fly-tipping on the estate is becoming a ‘huge problem’.
The estate, which is home to endangered plants and animals, is also sadly ‘home’ to some of the worst illegal dumping of rubbish in Yorkshire.
I head towards the summit of Pule Hill along Mount Road off the A62, a main route between West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. Near the junction I spot an enormous pile of rubbish in a lay-by.
There are tyres, wheel trims, bin bags full of old clothes and toys including a children’s ride-on electric car. It looks bad enough piled up in a lay-by but a few days before it was strewn across a ditch at the side of the road. Thanks to the National Trust and some volunteers it has been collected ready for removal.
And just 100 metres up the road there’s another massive heap of rubbish in which there’s a settee, mattresses, a door and the sides of caravan. A pair of ewes and their lambs wander past showing the brutal contrast between nature and man’s abuse of it.
On the other side of the valley is the A640 New Hey Road, another main route between West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester and another illegal dumping blackspot.
Today the sides of the road are mostly clear of rubbish but as I turn onto Saddleworth Road and cross the Brown Cow Bridge I find a collection of bin bags, which the high winds has blown across the moor, and some corrugated roofing.
Heading back to the office I’m pleased to see the countryside back roads are relatively free of rubbish. Whether that’s due to councils and volunteers clearing up or costly enforcement policies, I don’t know.
But as cash-strapped councils are forced to reduce their waste collection services this blight on our towns and countryside will continue. Regardless, no matter how onerous it is to legally dispose of waste there is NEVER any excuse for fly-tipping.