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Over the past year I've not been out much and when I have - like the rest of the population, I've been forced to 'stay local', so it was something of an eye opener for me to travel the 70 miles from home to Andover three weeks ago. I couldn't help but notice a thick layer of rubbish lining the verges and caught in the bushes; enough of it to show that it will have been accumulating for some time. Where the heck has it all come from and why isn't it being cleared? And why didn't I take pictures so you can see just how bad it is?
I know most of the civic amenity tips were shut during the first lockdown a year ago (if you're not in the UK, we're on number three now) but the booking system that was brought in when things first opened up again has, for many of us who aren't having to go into our workplaces five days a week, made it easier to get rid of things we no longer want, as we no longer face long queues. Surely councils have had sufficient time to clear the rubbish that came as a result of people fly-tipping between the first lockdown and the subsequent opening up of the tips in Summer.
I shook my head in despair upon learning about the chap being forced by Wealden District Council to remove all the 'recyclable materials' from his garden - items he uses to build bird and bug houses and wooden wildlife arches - along with his aquatic nursery. Peter Birchall, or, 'Pete the pond' as he's been dubbed, has been advised that removing everything and restoring his garden as requested, would cost £10,000. The irony that it would cost far less if he was fined for fly-tipping everything instead, has probably not escaped his supporters who have organised several petitions in an attempt to overturn the Council's decision. That Pete's aquatic nursery contains 180 native and rare plant species which he uses to educate locals in environmental responsibility and donates to wildlife projects, is surely something to be lauded rather than condemned. If you'd like to sign the petition, give me a shout and I'll send you the link.
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18th March 2021