Call for urgent action at former abattoir site ‘dumping ground’

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THE scale of fly-tipping at the former abattoir site in Burnfoot has been described by a local councillor as an “absolute disgrace”.

Bags of rubble, televisions, bricks and polystyrene are just some of the items amongst the debris being dumped and the neighbouring homeowner has spoken of her utter despair.

Eileen Parris, who stays nearby, told the Hawick News: “When I look out my windows it is just like a rubbish tip, it is awful. People are just coming along and dumping their rubbish, it is everywhere, and with the recent winds some of it has been blown about into the trees.”

She added: “We keep the area outside our cottage nice with the grass cut, daffodils planted all the way up and trees, but it is being completely spoiled.”

Mrs Parris and her husband Jim have even been driven to get their own hands dirty and tackled the problem armed with black bags in a bid to tidy up the mess blighting their landscape – which also forms part of the Waverley Walk to Denholm.

But Councillor Stuart Marshall says unfortunately, they are fighting a losing battle. “The condition of this area is absolutely disgraceful, and it looks like a landfill site due to the vast amount of fly-tipping”, he stated.

“Mr and Mrs Parris who live in the lovely cottage over the banking from this dumping ground are at their wits end with people tipping over the steep embankment and ultimately into the burn below. And the burn that is adjacent to this site and the woodlands are both suffering with contamination as a result.”

And he warned: “I don’t think it will be long before someone is hurt up there, and I’m furious that this issue hasn’t been resolved.”

This sentiment is shared by Mrs Parris, the proprietor of The Exchange Bar, who added: “It is becoming quite a danger, but we feel no-one can, or wants to help.”

Mr Marshall says he has once again closed the gates to the former abattoir site – which is privately owned – in a bid to stop people driving in, but has called for them to be permanently secured.

And although he has arranged a site meeting with a representative from SEPA, Mr Marshall’s request for a meeting with environmental health officers has been turned down, the local authority stating it has no leglislative remit in this area.

And a spokesman for Scottish Borders Council told the Hawick News: “The site in question does not belong to SBC. We do not clear fly-tipping from private ground as that is the landowner’s responsibility.

“But we would encourage members of the public to report anyone they suspect of fly-tipping to the ‘Dumb Dumpers’ stop-line on 0845 230 4090 or report it online at www.dumbdumpers.org. Our teams will continue to monitor the Hawick area to combat the on-going issue of fly-tipping and anyone caught doing this can face fines of up to £40,000 or six months imprisonment.”