By ROSALIND GRIFFITHS
Shetland Amenity Trust has been granted national funding to clear and close 11 illegal fly-tip sites throughout Shetland from Scousburgh in the South Mainland to Mid Yell in the North Isles.
The funding, accessed from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (Sepa) Clean Up Fund, will enable the amenity trust to target some of what it considers to be the worst fly-tip sites in Shetland. According to the amenity trust, the sites not only look unsightly, but also present a hazard to public health.
Four are in Yell – at Mid Yell, Vatster, Greypit in Burravoe and Mugdale in Hamnavoe. Others on the Mainland are on the Sullom road, on Scousburgh Hill, in a disused quarry at Bigton, at Cunningsburgh industrial estate, at East Voe in Scalloway, in a field in Gulberwick and near Hollanders Knowe on the old Lerwick to Scalloway road.
Most of the 11 sites are “historic” and are still active and of considerable size, while some have only just recently appeared.
The trust’s environment project officer Mick Clifton said: “We have been working very closely with SIC and Sepa to identify, inspect and catalogue these illegal dumps so that we can attract funding. It is essential, in this day and age, that we close these sites down and ensure that they do not re-open.
“Thankfully, most sites are very well hidden and some are very small, but there are one or two that are of a considerable size. By clearing these illegal dumps, we will be making a significant improvement to our local environment. Thousands of visitors come to Shetland every year expecting to see a pristine environment and we should do all we can to ensure that happens.”
Although some of the illegal fly-tip sites merely contain abandoned materials such as steel tanks, girders, vehicles, cranes and building and crofting material, others are more serious and pose a danger to wildlife and public health.
SIC environmental health manager Maggie Dunne said: “Some of these sites pose no risk but look unsightly while others contain massive amounts of plastics, crofting waste and possible contaminates. In all cases though, dumping waste like this is illegal and can attract a large fine. Our environmental health offices will be monitoring these sites to ensure dumping does not take place again.”
Manager of Sepa’s Shetland office Dave Okill said: “We have very good provision for waste disposal in Shetland so there is no reason for anyone to dump waste in this way.
“These illegal dumps have an extremely negative impact on our communities and Sepa are very pleased to be working with the amenity trust on a programme of remediation. The benefits to the local community and the local environment will be considerable. If evidence is forthcoming of anyone fly-tipping, legal action will be taken against them.”
All the 11 sites will be cleared and closed by mid-March and the amenity trust will be contracting in waste disposal experts 60 North Recycling and Victor Jamieson of Yell to undertake most of the work along with the trust’s environmental improvement squads.
Rubbish can be disposed of free at Rova Head and anyone with items to dump should contact the SIC.