Thankyou to everyone who has reported to us or the council the substantial flytip that has appeared in recent weeks next to a small copse on the east side of Swangleys Lane, half way between Datchworth and Knebworth.
This waste has all been illegally dumped by a commercial operator and we are aware of its contents – spread over 50 dustbin bags and other larger items. We spotted this problem immediately and have been working from the outset with Herts Police and our local North Herts Environmental Crimes Officers. This rubbish extends from the road edge backwards into our field and therefore NHDC will not collect it, whilst for us it would constitute commercial waste that needs a waste-carriers licence and considerable fee to remove. We are working with the Environmental Crimes officers who have been very helpful, have this logged as a crime and with their input we are trying to find a resolution. I know that one of our farm neighbours posted this incident to the We Are From Knebworth Facebook group – thankyou for that and for the many responses (more than 40 in 24hours). Do please feel free to share your thoughts on Facebook and with the local Parish Councils and NHDC, as it can only help.
In the last two weeks – while dealing with this incident – a further flytipping of domestic and redecorating waste appeared overnight in our field gateway around 200m away. We traced that back to a specific Knebworth resident and have successfully taken action against them. I still find it shocking that there are people who are prepared to either dump their waste in a field outside their own village (which we have experienced numerous times) or give it up to an unlicensed carrier in the knowledge that they are likely to do the same. Flytipping has been illegal for many years, but passing waste to unlicensed carriers is also now illegal and prosecutions are regularly made.
These incidents are an extra drain on the farm as a business. Swangleys is just a small family-run farm operating in difficult economic circumstances and with a real need to diversify our business if we are to stay viable. Yet, despite these challenges, we put a lot of effort into being good neighbours : For the community’s longer term benefit, we are working closely with the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan team and the NHDC Planning Policy unit on how the village can achieve some of its own local priorities after the introduction of NHDC’s upcoming but understandably controversial Local Plan development process. And in the shorter term, we choose to run and pay for ourselves a wide range of ecology initiatives; we always collect litter dropped on our own land by local people and periodically also undertake a full litterpick of the council’s roadside verges on our own initiative…… as you’ll see elsewhere in our News section. It is upsetting for everyone in the community when flytippers move in – all the more so if they are members of that local community – and this is only one type of antisocial activity that the farm suffers on a regular basis . One of those recurring activities is trespassing, which we know from experience brings with it unwanted conflict, public liability risks, littering and vandalism. We really do appreciate your help in spotting and highlighting these problems and we welcome your positive support and understanding in our ongoing efforts to put the business on a firmer footing through its various longer term diversification projects.
As always, please feel free to use the Contact form if you need to alert us to anything or want to generally get in touch. This blog post has been shared with the Knebworth, Woolmer Green and Datchworth parish councils.