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Fears raised over Frome fly-tipping fire risk

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

  • Remains of a tyre fire in Pot Lane near Berkley Marsh

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Frome firefighters have raised serious concerns over the amount of time they are spending putting out fly-tipping fires in the Gypsy Lane area.

The concerns were raised after they were called to a blaze last Wednesday in which 50 tyres were set alight in Potts Lane, adjoining Gypsy Lane.

Fire chiefs believe the fire was started deliberately.

In the past few weeks, the fire service has been called to put out fires in the lane six times.

The waste has included household and builders' rubbish, tree clippings and tyres.

Last year, crews were called to an incident at the location involving gas cylinders, which can be explosive when involved in fire.

A Devon and Somerset Fire Service spokesman said: "The service would like to remind people that fly-tipping is illegal, and can lead to fines of up to £50,000 or up to five years imprisonment.

"Arson is also a criminal offence and the service always seeks to prosecute those responsible.

"Rubbish fires started deliberately can be extremely dangerous as it is not always known what substances are contained within the rubbish.

"They waste our time and resources and could delay our crews from attending an incident where human life is at risk."

The Somerset Standard contacted Mendip District Council and the police to find out the latest on the fight against fly-tipping.

Frome's Neighbourhood Sergeant, Sarah Dinnis, said: "We do understand the frustration that fly-tipping causes and we are working closely with the council to try to solve the problems in the area."

Fly-tipping has been a problem in the Frome area for many years.

The issue has once again come to the fore after a row broke out between councillors at a recent full council meeting when Liberal Democrats tried to put forward a motion to tackle the issue.

Councillor Nigel Taylor, portfolio holder for regulatory services, said: "We are well aware of the ongoing problems of fly-tipping at Gypsy Lane and are investigating all the options available to us to deal with it.

"We are working alongside our partners to identify those individuals who are dumping the rubbish and would appeal to the public to help us by reporting vehicles that are seen fly-tipping.

"Once we have the vehicle registration numbers we can investigate further and even prosecute if we have sufficient evidence.

"We cleared away a large amount of green waste from the site over the weekend October 6 and 7 and on Monday, October 8.

"We have also arranged for the tyres and gas canisters to be removed from the site.

"We would like to reassure residents that we are committed to tackling the problem of fly-tipping and are working hard to identify and prosecute those responsible."

Anyone who knows someone who is fly-tipping or has witnessed it should call the police on 101 or the district council on 01749 648999 to report it.

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