Midlothian pig farmer declares war on feckless fly-tippers

A FED-UP farmer has slammed feckless fly-tippers for repeatedly dumping rubbish on his Midlothian land.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 3:22 pm
Robin Traquair next to the latest pile of waste

Pig rearer Robin Traquair has suffered years of the blight on his 12-acre Millerhill smallholding - even tracing one pile in May back to a Niddrie house clearance.

He suspects the same culprits are behind another van load of garbage which appeared in a ditch earlier this week.

“We’ve had lots of fly-tipping previously,” said Mr Traquair, 50. “It’s been going on for two or three years.

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Robin Traquair next to the latest pile of waste

“These people should have a SEPA ticket but they’re just taking shortcuts all the time and expecting others to sort it.”

Mr Traquair says he was able to trace successive loads back to house clearances after finding addresses among the piles of waste.

“The exact same thing happened in May,” he added. “It’s as though a Transit tipper van has come and just tipped it out in a ditch.

“It ranges from garden waste to rubbish - like a single man’s house has been cleared out.

“Last time it was like a house clearance from a whole family home - there were even school photographs and those little red books you get to chart a child’s life.

“There’s nothing toxic or danger to the animals but it’s a massive inconvenience. It looks like the same people and we’re trying to clear it ourselves this time.”

He now plans to install CCTV cameras to prevent any repeat of Monday's mess.

The Evening News revealed in June how reports of rubbish dumped in the Capital by fly-tippers have more than tripled in six years.

And the blight has also exploded across the Lothians with commercial and household waste mostly to blame.

Councils have launched campaigns to tackle the spectre and vowed to get tough with the tippers.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency showed reports in Edinburgh had risen from 44 in 2013 to 134 in 2018 - the equivalent to one every three days.

Further analysis of waste dumped between August 2017 and December 2018 revealed furniture and other household rubbish and construction materials to be the most common.

Waste was typically dumped in van load sizes during the 18-month period though the Capital also saw lorry loads of rubbish left.

In October last year, new four-day waste collection rotas were rolled out alongside paid-for a garden waste service.

There were more than 8,000 complaints from residents in five weeks as rubbish piled-up - but the council denied the collection changes are responsible for more fly-tipping.

In West Lothian, cases reported to SEPA rose from 20 in 2013 to 74 in 2018 - with household furniture, black bags and gardening among the most common waste in the most recent 18 months.

Reports to SEPA from East Lothian rose from 11 in 2013 to 29 in 2018 - with household furniture and black bags, but also construction waste mostly responsible in the most recent 18 months.

In Midlothian, reports rose from 42 in 2013 to 92 in 2018 - with furniture, commercial and construction waste mostly found in the 18 months up to December.

A spokesman for SEPA said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment.

“Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime and clearing it up costs Scottish local authorities more than £2.5 million each year.

“It also undermines legitimate waste businesses, where illegal operators undercut those operating within the law.

“Everyone can help end the selfish, criminal flytipping behaviours that blight our communities.

“We all have a legal responsibility to ensure that we produce, store, transport and dispose of our waste without harming the environment, which means we need to ensure that only licenced professionals handle our waste.”

An online register of licensed waste carriers and brokers is maintained by SEPA enabling the public or businesses to check and ensure that contractors are sufficiently compliant.

The SEPA spokesman added: “We will continue to work with our partners and local communities to raise awareness of fly-tipping and help tackle the issue.”

Anyone wishing to report fly-tipping can call the Dumb Dumpers Stopline on 0845 2 30 40 90 or by completing a form at www.dumbdumpers.org