Asbestos warning for flying clean-up squads in south east Lincolnshire

South Holland District Council members Cllrs Jack McLean and Anthony Casson clean up Gore Lane car park, Spalding.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
South Holland District Council members Cllrs Jack McLean and Anthony Casson clean up Gore Lane car park, Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Operation Fly Swat cuts dumping by nearly a third in four years

Volunteers committed to keeping South Holland and other parts of south Lincolnshire free of litter are being warned to watch out for asbestos.

The warning from Ian Yates of South Kesteven District Council (SKDC), which covers the Deepings and Bourne, came as the Spalding Guardian found that an anti-fly tipping team for South Holland and Boston had recorded almost 25 cases of asbestos being dumped in the last four years.

Mr Yates, SKDC’s executive manager for environment, warned of ‘rogue, unlicensed waste collectors’ who have dumped household and garden waste such as piping, roofing and tiling which included ‘small amounts of asbestos’.

“We would appeal to householders to always employ reputable waste collectors who show their licences on request when arranging for the disposal of rubbish and asbestos at home,” Mr Yates said.

“This is to avoid using rogue, unlicensed collectors who have in the past dumped items from house and garden clearances, including downpipes, stackpipes, parts of roofing, garages, sheds and other household waste that have included small amounts of asbestos.

“Small amounts of asbestos are being found among fly tipping in the district that potentially poses dangers to anyone who comes into contact with it.

It’s amazing how few people know the law around fly tipping and that they are responsible for their waste until it’s disposed of in a legal and responsible way

Jenny Moore, environment and sustainability officer for Boston Borough Council

“Therefore, always check for identification so that you use a waste collector you can trust and avoid possible legal consequences if fly tipping is found and linked to your household.”

Operation Fly Swat, a partnership involving South Holland District Council, Boston Borough Council, internal drainage boards, housing associations and North Sea Camp prison, has found asbestos amongst about £300,000 worth of fly tipping waste volunteers have cleared between April 2012 and March 2016.

Jenny Moore, environment and sustainability officer for Boston Borough Council, said: “We have very strict rules on what our Operation Fly Swat teams can and cannot pick up.

“If asbestos buried amongst fly tipping is discovered, then our teams leave it where it is because they are not allowed to touch it.”

Meanwhile, The amount of waste dumped by fly tippers across South Holland and Boston has dropped by almost a third in four years, it has been claimed.

A council official responsible for Operation Fly Swat, launched four years ago to clear up fly tipping over two areas, revealed that just £60,000 had been spent clearing up about £300,000 worth of fly tipping left between April 2012 and March 2016.

Jenny Moore, environment and sustainability officer for Boston Borough Council, praised community groups across South Holland and Boston for turning what started out as ‘a good idea’ into a campaign backed by both public and private sector organisations.

Mrs Moore said: “South Holland District Council has been on board with Operation Fly Swat after we spoke to them about the project.

“The overall operations manager for South Holland District Council thought it was a good idea and then we did a presentation to the council, meeting up afterwards with their operations teams who then signed up to it.”

Figures for Operation Fly Swat, from Boston Borough Council, showed that there were almost 1,500 separate fly tipping incidents and nearly 180 tonnes of rubbish collected in 2013/14.

But by 2014/15, it was down to just under 1,200 cases and less than 140 tonnes, with a further fall to less than 1,060 incidents and 90 tonnes in 2015/16.

Mrs Moore said: “There is the potential for Operation Fly Swat to go much, much wider and that’s really down to the individual residents, different groups and organisations.”

As well as the two councils,Operation Fly Swat is also supported by the Environment Agency, Welland and Deepings, South Holland and Black Sluice Internal Drainage Boards IBDs), Lincolnshire County Council, two housing associations and North Sea Camp Prison, near Boston.

Mrs Moore said: “It’s amazing how few people know the law around fly tipping and that they are responsible for their waste until it’s disposed of in a legal and responsible way.

“An officer from Black Sluice IDB has told us how handy it is to have Operation Fly Swat teams going out now as fly tipping is no longer on the increase.”

A South Holland District Council spokesman said: “The council is an active partner in this initiative (Operation Fly Swat) and has been almost from the start.

“We contribute towards the cost of a supervisor, provision of a van and staff training, while the labour is provided by HM (Her Majesty’s) Prison North Sea Camp free of charge as part of a re-integration programme run by the prison.”