'Action needed to protect Hatfield ancient woodland from fly-tipping'

The sofa dumped at Steam Woods, Hatfield, over the weekend.

The sofa dumped at Steam Woods, Hatfield, over the weekend. - Credit: Kieran Thorpe

A woodland reserve in south Hatfield has once again been targeted by fly-tippers, prompting the local Labour group to campaign for a barrier to restrict access to the site.

Stream Woods is an ancient woodland located between Woods Avenue and the railway line which is accessed from Howe Dell or Honeysuckle Gardens.

Labour's Cllr Kieran Thorpe is calling for a barrier to restrict access to Steam Woods.

Labour's Cllr Kieran Thorpe is calling for a barrier to restrict access to Steam Woods. - Credit: Kieran Thorpe

Over the weekend fly-tippers abandoned a three-seater white sofa at the edge of the woods, churning up the ground in the process.

Welwyn Hatfield Labour wants a barrier installed to prevent access to those who don't legitimately need it, but have constantly run into opposition.

Group leader Cllr Kieran Thorpe said he's been trying to tackle the issue of fly-tipping for years, and condemned his political rivals for not acting.

"This is a small lane providing access to the nearby waterworks, but increasingly the general public are using it, which is both dangerous to pedestrians and sadly allows access for fly-tippers and other thoughtless drivers who are damaging the area.

"The fly-tipping is bad enough, but I am concerned that dogs, small children and the elderly are at risk from vehicles driving up and down a path, wrongly believing it is a road.

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"Labour has raised these concerns to the police and both the borough and county Conservative councils several times but no-one is remotely interested in solving this issue. All it would take is a barrier accessible only to those that need it, but shockingly the authorities won't even put up a simple sign.

Previous fly-tipping at Steam Woods, which Cllr Kieran Thorpe reported.

Previous fly-tipping at Steam Woods, which Cllr Kieran Thorpe reported. - Credit: Kieran Thorpe

"It simply beggars belief that they've got the time and money for hare-brained 'safety' projects and road closures elsewhere in Hatfield, but refuse to act here to protect an area much loved by many. "

The group is also calling for a rapid response team to pick up any fly-tipped rubbish, and maximum enforcement and deterrence measures in areas where this repeatedly happens.

A spokesperson for WHBC said: “Fly-tipping is anti-social and damaging to our environment. We work hard to tackle fly-tipping in Welwyn Hatfield and are doing everything we can to eradicate the problem by not only quickly clearing waste dumped on our own land but also through preventative measures.

“We have successfully used Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to fine fly-tippers and can also use FPN’s to penalise those who fail to take reasonable steps to check their waste is being disposed of legally. The council is part of the Hertfordshire-wide fly tipping group and we actively promote the S.C.R.A.P code, which provides information on how residents can prevent fly-tipping. More information is available at: http://hertfordshire.gov.uk/flytipping

“We encourage all residents to report fly-tipping to us, and this can be done easily online at www.welhat.gov.uk/report or by calling 01707 357000.”