South Somerset fly-tipping figures fall

Fly-tipping figures released today [15 October 2013] by the government show incidents county-wide have dropped by 497 or 8.7% from 5,687 to 5,190.

South Somerset’s fall has carried on into the first three months of this financial year, down by 114 to 338 on the same period last year, and down by 94 on January-March 2013. All Somerset districts saw improved figures in 2012/13; as well as South Somerset, Mendip was down 73 to 1,631, Sedgemoor down 306 to 1,161, Taunton Deane down 42 to 646, and West Somerset down 71 to 93.

The improvements were first reported to the Somerset Waste Board four months ago in June, and follows a path previously predicted by board chairman Cllr Derek Yeomans. The fall has coincided with greater efforts to deter fly-tippers, through new equipment, warning signs and further training for district enforcement officers, backed by Somerset County Council.

South Somerset and other councils are moving to reduce the fly-tipping “supply” by urging residents and businesses to check if those removing rubbish – such as builders – have the correct waste carrier’s licence. Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Economic Development said, “Building on this good news, this district will continue to fight fly-tipping, with our enforcement staff leading the way in tackling this crime. You can play a vital role by reporting suspicious activity and giving evidence, as this remains a tough crime to deter or prosecute. We must ensure that our countryside is kept looking beautiful. One thing we can all do is to ensure our own household or business rubbish is not fly-tipped; just ask anyone taking it away – builders, gardeners and other tradespeople – for their waste carrier licence.”

Clearing up Somerset’s fly-tipping costs South Somerset and the other district councils a total of around £150,000 a year, with the County Council contributing about £36,000 in 2012/13.

Food recycled for cooking … and lighting

Gas generation starts at Walpole Digester


CaptureDeliveries of food waste to the anaerobic digester commenced on 20th August as part of the commissioning process. The amount of food waste will be increased gradually over the commissioning period until the point where all food waste arisings collected by SWP from the county will be received.

The plant is already producing gas in low quantities. The first of the gas engines is being installed and will be able to commence electricity production once the volume of food input and gas output have increased sufficiently over the coming weeks. The commissioning period is expected to last 3-6 months.

For more details of the plant click here

Oak may be saved.

CaptureI have now met with Phil Poulton, the SSDC Tree Officer. The storm damage to the Oak in Oak Tree Park is obviously very severe, with the main crown of the tree failing and taking off all of the lower branches on one side. It was very unbalanced and a further, lower limb has failed since it was fenced off.

Despite this, Phil recommends that we see if the tree can be saved. Oaks are quite good at regenerating and, although this one has few obvious buds, it’s worth taking a couple of years to find out. The suggestion is to stabilise the tree structure by using storm replication/retrenchment pruning techniques. This involves reducing the length of the remaining limbs (to reduce wind loading and to compensate for the loss of “mechanical damping”). Hopefully, in time the tree to produce new growth. This level of emergency work maybe possible without a TPO application.

We took a wider look around and the Oak in the play area also needs some work (it’s much weakened by fungus), so a TPO application to allow further retrenchment might be prudent.

The lightning-damaged Oak which sits on the green between Forde Park and Muchelney Way appears to have Meripilus giganteous at the base. That’s a very nasty fungus which eats away the very big structural roots – no need to do anything hasty but a TPO application to do a second crown reduction may be needed (Phil saved this tree when it was split in two and it has recovered to a nice shape, hopefully the same will happen again).

Somerset Waste Partnership – Flooding and severe weather

Somerset Waste Partnership continue to collect waste from communities cut off by the floods, working with local volunteers and in some cases with the Red Cross and Fire Brigade to use their amphibious vehicles. 

  • So far, collections have focused on the collection of refuse for disposal, but arrangements are also being made to start collections of materials for recycling, where these can be handled in clear sacks that will be provided.
  • Arrangements have also been made to provide extra waste collections to support emergency centres and skips to assist with volunteer clean-ups where flood water has receded.
  • There is an increase in bulky items, such as damaged carpets and furniture, being delivered to recycling centres, which it is expected will increase over the coming weeks and months.