'Colossal' 250tonne rubbish pile could take up to a year to remove, owners fear
PUBLISHED: 13:50 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:35 25 July 2017
Travellers left the site on Thursday last week
Owners of private land left devastated by fly-tippers fear it could take up to a year to shift the rubbish.
Estimates currently suggest there is up to 250 tonnes of waste dumped at the site in Bickley, after a group of travellers left the site and are thought to have then briefly moved on to the former Sun Chemical site Orpington.
Now landowners for the four-acre site adjacent to Thornet Wood Road and Blackbrook Lane face raising up to £100,000 to clear the pile after travellers had “barricaded” themselves in on July 5.
A spokesperson from Thornet Wood CoOwners said: “The first night there was only four or five caravans, but by the end of the two weeks there was up to 20.
“The land isn’t safe as an open space, that is why we lock the main entrance, I’d say between one and two acres has been left covered by all the rubbish left behind.”
Among the waste left abandoned was a fridge, an old sofa and a bath.
The spokesperson continued: “It’s colossal, I can’t say when work will begin because we’re still waiting to find out from contractors.
“It depends on the amount of rubbish, and the type, if there’s asbestos in there that’s going to make clearing the site more expensive, and we have to consider putting in an access road for lorries.”
The travellers reportedly left the site on Thursday after an eviction notice to leave the privately-owned land was issued.
Colin Smith, Bickley ward councillor called the incident an “absolute outrage”, claiming the land owners “took far too long” to stop the occupation.
He said: “It is surely time the law surrounding illegal, industrial scale fly tipping is reviewed with an eye to providing greater powers and resources to councils and the police, as well as stronger sentencing powers and tariffs to the courts.
“Ultimately, if you pay someone £10 cash to dispose of an old fridge, bath or kitchen refurb, what you have seen happen at Blackbrook Lane is almost certainly what will happen to your discarded waste as well.”
Thornet Wood CoOwners responded: “There was a delay because we had to ask each of the 20 or so plot owners if they had invited the travellers onto our site, before police could start to move them off.”