A month-long rural campaign clamping down on fly-tippers and illegal off-road bikers has been launched.
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott is leading the campaign and focusing his efforts on the countryside, speaking to farmers, councils and residents about what impacts them the most.
He says he has seen shocking fly-tipping sites in the county and heard how illegal off-road bikers are destroying fields and crops.
He’s also urging people to respect where they live by keeping dogs on the lead around livestock and closing farmers’ gates if you’re out walking on rural paths and bridleways.
Figures from Kent County Council show that fly-tipping increased by 15.5% in the last seven years. In the South East as a whole, it rose by just over 8%.
Mr Scott says fly-tipping is a blight on the county and he’s been appalled at its scale.
“The clean-up costs not only the farmer, but also the taxpayer and it pollutes the fields which grow our crops,” he said.
“I’ve also been out with the specialist Rural Crime Task Force, to see how they are targeting vehicles they suspect are being used to dump waste illegally.
“Over the course of this month I’ll also be looking at a wide range of other rural issues, from road safety to antisocial behaviour.
“I’m hearing about more cases of off-road bikes, often ridden by children, trespassing and tearing up fields and local lanes.”
The Commissioner’s campaign is being supported by numerous countryside groups in Kent.
Amanda Corp from the NFU says they have seen more and more examples of private and industrial waste dumping, because of Covid.
“Quite often people are using bogus waste removal companies,” she added.
“They take your money, but they’re not genuine and they just come and dump your waste in farmers’ fields.
“This waste then contaminates the fields that feed our livestock and produce your food.”