IT is still not too late to make a final New Year resolution – namely to respect the environment and help authorities to stop the scourges of flytipping and litter.
The sadness is that this even needs to be said when Yorkshire is home to such stunning scenery – and responsible residents who do dispose of their rubbish.
The challenge, and it is a collective one, is making sure that residents, backed up by community groups and councils, do lead by example and take litter home. But it also requires town halls to respond more quickly when large amounts of discarded waste are reported – early intervention is crucial when it comes to stopping this rot, preventing areas becoming blighted and, hopefully, identifying offenders.
And this issue also needs Defra – and the courts – to consider why court-imposed fine for flytipping offences remain so lenient following a reported 50 per cent rise in reported causes since 2012-13. These minor fines send out the totally wrong message – namely that it is acceptable to dump rubbish in fields because it will fall to farmers and landowners to pay for the clear-up costs. Not only is this totally unjust, especially when many farmers are struggling to make a good living from the land, but this indifference offers no deterrent whatsoever.
And it actually risks discouraging all those public-spirited groups who regularly venture out, in all weathers, to clean up the mess caused by the thoughtlessness, selfishness and sheer laziness of others. If it wasn’t for them, this county may not be so welcoming to visitors, hence the need to redouble efforts to tackle litter and flytipping in 2020.