Helicopter enlisted to find fly-tips

The authorities in North Cornwall are taking extreme measures in their fight to tackle fly-tipping, making use of a helicopter to spot illegal dumps and catch tippers in the act.

The Environment Agency and the local district council have joined forces with a helicopter company which will use a chopper equipped with a TV-quality camera and tracking devices, similar to those used by news networks looking to keep tabs on traffic congestion.

While the helicopter will only be making dedicated flights for a brief period, in an effort to find existing tips in the 500 square miles of countryside which makes up the rural district, the company has agreed to remain on a watching brief reporting any further sites or suspicious activity that may be spotted in the future.

Although using a helicopter, one of the most energy-hungry vehicles known to man, might seem inefficient, a similar initiative across the border in Devon last year led to the discovery of over 100 illegal fly tips.

“It’s just one of the tools we have that provides another way we can catch fly-tippers who we couldn’t get otherwise,” a spokesman for the EA told edie.

“Because it’s such a vast rural area it’s difficult to cover it all on the ground.”

He said an increasing number of techniques were being used to crack down on fly-tippers as the war on waste heats up, including forensics and surveillance technologies.

Morgood Helicopters’ Kevin Foster, the pilot who will be flying the eye in the sky, said he was happy to provide the service free of charge as a goodwill gesture.

“The illegal dumping of waste is not only selfish and irresponsible, but expensive to clear up leaving taxpayers to foot the bill,” he said.

“We fully support the Environment Agency and North Cornwall Council in their efforts to catch and prosecute fly-tippers, and are happy assist in any way we can.”

Environment Agency officer Steve Clark added: “Aerial surveillance is a powerful weapon in the fight against fly-tipping. Anyone thinking of tipping waste in the North Cornwall countryside now runs a serious risk of being caught as a result of this new partnership.”

Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie