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Fly-tipping: the uncomfortable truth

Published: 10 November 2020

Flytipping Ludwell Valley Park

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Steve Hussey spotted this example of fly-tipping on one his regular walks around Ludwell Valley Park.

The Valley Parks are managed by the conservation charity on behalf of the City Council and provide thousands of local people with green spaces in which to escape and relax.

Over recent months in which lockdowns, restricted social contact and travel constraints have dominated, the Trust has noticed that use and enjoyment of the Valley Parks has grown. However, it seems that not everyone can appreciate their worth.

Steve said: “I use the Valley Parks nearly every day. They are the places I run through, walk in and go to enjoy nature on my doorstep. I live very close to both Riverside Valley Park and Ludwell Valley Park, and like many other people in the city these places have become a haven for me during this weird and worrying year. So to see the kind of fly-tipping I spotted at Ludwell Valley Park really saddens me.”

“Fly-tipping is wrong on so many levels. It creates extra work for our staff, taking precious resources away from what they should be doing – which is work to help wildlife. Then there is the wasting of Exeter City Council resources as it’s their staff who have to come along, collect and dispose of the fly-tipped material. At a time when we are all so stretched by the demands of the pandemic, these thoughtless acts are things we can do without.”

“But perhaps I worry most about the mind of someone who thinks it’s OK to dump an unwanted sofa at the entrance to a much-loved beauty-spot. At Devon Wildlife Trust we work with people to overcome something we call ‘nature deficit disorder’ – that is a state of mind where you have no connection to, no appreciation of and ultimately feel little love for the natural world around you. The people who have done this fly-tipping really do seem to have a bad case.”

Exeter’s six Valley Parks – Ludwell, Riverside, Duryard & Belvidere, Whitycombe, Barley and Mincinglake – all remain open to the public, along with Devon Wildlife Trust’s 50+ other nature reserves around the county.

People who spot fly-tipping in Exeter can report incidents at

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