Fly-tipping threatens power supplies

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UK Power Networks is appealing to the public to help it tackle the menace of fly-tipping.

More than 150 electricity substation sites, which deliver essential power supplies across the East of England, London and the South East, have been the target of illegal fly-tipping this year. Since January approximately 59 of these cases have been reported in the East of England.

The incidents can put power supplies at risk by delaying access to vital equipment and endanger staff visiting the sites to carry out inspections, maintenance or repairs. Dumped settees and other large waste can also be climbed, making it tempting for children who might not understand the severe dangers of entering an electricity substation. That is why people are being urged to ring UK Power Networks if they see rubbish blocking a substation, so the waste can be safely removed.

Cleaning up the rubbish has already cost UK Power Networks several thousand pounds this year.

Jim Nicholl, lead environmental adviser, said: “Fly-tipping can delay the reconnection of power supplies by blocking access to our essential electricity distribution equipment. It is also dirty, dangerous and can be harmful to our staff and the public. We are appealing to the public to help us by reporting any sightings of fly-tipping at the sites which bring power to their properties.”

Engineers have found mattresses, fridges, ironing boards, sofas, desks, toasters, bottles, tree clippings, cans, building rubble, guttering, tyres and polystyrene inside vital substation enclosures. Occasionally broken glass and used needles are lurking among the rubbish.

In the East of England a variety of items have been fly-tipped at substations this year including:

· A dining table, toilet seat and bags of rubbish in Fairlop Road, Ilford

· Thirty bags of household rubbish in Welwyn Garden City

· Glass, rubble and an old suitcase in the St George’s Park area of Great Yarmouth

· Tree branches dumped at a site in Branton Close, Luton

· General rubbish in Woodcock Road, Catton, Norwich

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence under the Environmental Protection Act carrying significant fines and even prison sentences in more serious cases. UK Power Networks will work with the police to prosecute offenders where possible. Anyone who sees fly-tipping blocking access to an electricity substation can report it to the company on 0845 601 4516.