The organisation in charge of the country’s main roads has adopted a new green-fingered approach to prevent fly-tipping. National Highways, the government-run company in charge of motorways and major A-roads, says it hopes a trial scheme in the West Midlands will prove successful in preventing the problem.
Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste, usually in the vicinity of a road, which can cause pollution to the land and waterways. Not only can fly-tipping create an eyesore for passers-by, but it can cost councils and other authorities notable amounts of money. It’s an offence that carries a maximum fine of £50,000 or more if the case goes to Crown Court, and there’s a maximum prison sentence of five years.
National Highways claims a “fly-tipping hotspot” has sprung up in Darlaston Road, in Walsall, with rubbish dumped by a set of gates. The organisation says the fly-tipping is unsightly and “dangerous”, blocking National Highways’ gates that provide “vital access” to the M6 motorway. Items that have been dumped at the site include mattresses and a fridge, along with more conventional waste.
The company says it has spent “thousands of pounds” trying to tackle the issue, and complaints were received from residents “upset” by the problem. But now National Highways has come up with a new scheme that it hopes will prevent fly-tipping at the site.
The gardening approach involves two large wooden planters, which have been installed to fill the vacant space. National Highways says it hopes the new planters will deter fly-tippers and “provide some colour” in the next few months as the flowers bloom.
National Highways’ route manager, Adrian Johnson, said the new planters would be an unobtrusive way of deterring fly-tippers in the area.
“Rather than install fencing or bricking up the space which can be quite intrusive in a residential area, we thought these planters would offer a much more attractive use of the space for the local community,” he said. “Dumping rubbish poses a risk to the wildlife and the environment as well as being an ugly sight for local people to have to endure. We hope the improvements that we have made will persuade reckless fly-tippers to think again.”