Tonnes of rubbish has been left as a result of illegal fly-tipping, blocking a busy Bromley road in Downe. The enormous heap measuring a shocking 13ft long and 5ft high forced cars to slow to a crawl.

Fly-tipping is defined as the 'illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a licence to accept it'. Not only does this have impacts on road safety with, in this case, cars having to suddenly brake on a 60mph country road, but it seriously impacts the environment and pollution. Chemicals in the waste can alter the composition of the surrounding soil, affecting agriculture and wildlife who depend on certain conditions. Additionally, vectors for disease such as rodents can feed on food waste creating an infestation of uncontrollable illness. This can cause many in the nearby community to become infected.

In 2016/17, more than 1 million occurrences of fly-tipping were dealt with in England, costing more than a staggering £58 million. This money would undoubtedly be better used in other areas such as helping those in need including those living with disabilities or even tackling homelessness. From this, it is clear that fly-tipping is impacting all areas of society and needs to be tackled as soon as possible. However, although it is illegal and huge fines of up to £50,000 are put in place as well as other punishments, it is extremely difficult to identify the culprit as the offence often happens at night in rural areas.

In conclusion, although the severity of this problem in an increasingly polluted world is significant, it is unlikely that there will be much progress in reducing the number of these offences due to difficulty in identifying the offenders. 

By Charlotte Brereton, Newstead Wood School