‘HOW can we get this mess cleared up?’ a marine naturalist has asked.
Mike Puleston says he has been trying to work with Teignbridge Council for months to improve these shocking conditions at the council’s recycling centre based in the car park at Newton Abbot’s B&Q store.
He took these pictures on Boxing Day and over the past week. ‘This is out of control,’ said Mike. ‘It needs to be more environmentally secure.
‘People turn up with the best of intentions to recycle and then when they find the few bins there are full they just leave their recycling there.
‘Some people leave their household waste too and commercial operators are fly-tipping as well.
‘Plastic wrapping and polystyrene packs are being blown around and end up going into the water channel next to the store that flows into the River Teign.’
‘It’s such a shame as we have a recycling centre that has become a major polluter in the area.’
He said the council had made some changes with some fencing and clear-ups but the problem persists and it was not enough and was ‘low level management’.
He suggested the following improvements: Extra card skips (four were needed but during his last visit there was just one); the whole site needed proper fencing to prevent rubbish blowing around; CCTV cameras needed to be installed to prevent fly-tipping; more enforcement was needed to discourage this tipping.
He said he had made contact with Teignbridge Council many times over the past five months.
‘I just want to work with the council,’ he says.
‘Because of their lax management they are allowing pollution of the waterway.’
Cllr Alistair Dewhirst, Devon County and Teignbridge District Councillor, said: ‘I thank Mike for his interest and his concern.
‘As the Executive Member for Waste and Recycling I have been very concerned about this site for some time. It is fortunate that our other two sites in Newton Abbot at Sainsburys and Wolborough Way do not suffer in the same way.
‘I have asked our communications department to increase the messaging about fly-tipping at this site. Although many residents are doing the right thing and putting their waste in the skips provided, sadly many are not.
‘When I visited the site on Thursday evening at 4.45pm there was already a large pile of cardboard dumped next to the skip when the skip itself was empty and the whole area had been cleaned just half an hour before.
‘As far as the issue of wind-blown litter is concerned we have, as Mr Puleston has commented, put fine mesh on the fence around the site and have installed a huge waste bin.
‘Sadly, it is not the council that is polluting the water course but those who leave waste material around the site.
‘Our waste management team have been organising even more regular clean-ups around the site.
‘But frankly it is not the council’s job to constantly clean up after people who just cannot be bothered to act in a civilised manner.
‘It should be noted that the skips in the picture published in the MDA were not full and there was space for more material in the skips.
‘Finally, as to enforcement, Teignbridge Council have a good reputation for more “carrot than stick” enforcement.
‘But we do use stick and more than 50 people will be or have already been fined for fly tipping at this location over the recent holiday.
‘I have also asked officers to investigate the use of CCTV and installing more hard-hitting signage at this site.
‘I am determined that we will stamp out this anti-social behaviour.
‘Most people in Teignbridge are horrified at what is taking place at the B&Q car park and I know they support the council and our hard-working team at what is a very difficult time.’
A spokesman for Teignbridge Council said: ‘The impact of coronavirus on home shopping and the Christmas period has significantly increased the volume of cardboard being recycled and we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of residents for their efforts to dispose of it via their home collections, by taking it to recycling centres or by using local banks.
‘Throughout the pandemic our staff have worked heroically to maintain home collections, empty recycling banks and collect green waste.
‘We empty recycling banks daily and frequently find that they have capacity to take more cardboard.
‘This is largely due to a small minority of residents being unwilling to make the effort to put their cardboard into the banks, preferring to just dump it.
‘Covid has hit the council’s finances hard and while we are exploring how we can increase capacity, we at present have neither the resources, the vehicles nor the staff to operate more banks or empty them more frequently.
‘We are in discussions with B&Q and its landlords on how to make the site more secure, will be adding additional signage and we have over 50 current investigations for misusing the cardboard recycling banks at this location.
‘The minority who are flytipping at recycling banks are breaking the law as well as showing a selfish disregard for the safety of our staff, other residents and the cleanliness of our neighbourhoods.
‘We urge them to take some personal responsibility by taking the few seconds extra to fold and place their recycling in the banks or if full to take it to the Household Recycling Centre in Brunel Road or the alternative facilities at Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Wolborough Way car park.’