In another example of the council being more pro-active and sorting Northfield’s environment out the council’s contractors moved onto the site at the corner of Fulmer Way and Ridley Avenue last Thursday.
The exercise was led by the Envirocrime protection team. You can see me chatting with David Stokes, one of the team leaders, below. As an ex-park ranger he finds it hard not to be hands on so the opportunity to tear into some undergrowth with a power tool was more than he could bear.
The site had been used as a dumping ground so first of all a lorry load of sofas and the such-like had to be cleared away. Someone had dumped some old asbestos roofing – this is typically pretty safe but it still needs to be handled properly so a specialist Asbestos Consultants, was sent out to do this. If you’ve ever seen anyone safely dispose of an asbestos fence, then you know how much work is involved. The broken down fence was removed along with some of the larger shrubs. We left some of the budlea for the butterflies next summer. A new fence was then put up around the site to make it look smarter and to keep fly-tippers and drinkers out.
Ricky Wright, who is the Northfield Envirocrime Protection Officer, led the exercise. He reports to David. Ricky traced the owners of the land, wrote to them and served a notice under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act notice (this relates to abatement of nuisance). The notice was not complied with so he arranged for the council’s contractors to carry out the works in default. The council will now seek to collect its costs from the owners. Ultimately they will simply put a charge on the property so that costs are recovered when the owner gets around to selling it.
This kind of action takes meticulous work from officers and unfortunately it takes some time to jump through the legal hoops. You can see the almost finished result below. I talked to both of the immediately adjacent neighbours who were thrilled to see the work being done. Well done to all.