River Ouse is not a dumping ground’ people are told

Flytippers who throw old bicycles, shopping trollies or other items into the River Ouse are being warned they are causing pollution and potential flooding. 

Lewes District Council and the Environment Agency are appealing to people to stop dumping objects in the river following a clear up by specialist contractors between Cliff Bridge and Willey’s Bridge earlier this month. 

Their haul included shopping trolleys, fencing, concrete blocks and metal poles. 

Councillor Matthew Bird, Cabinet member for Sustainability, said: “I’m sorry to say there has been a persistent problem over the years of some people discarding unwanted items into the River Ouse, particularly around the Willey’s Bridge area. This is hugely irresponsible and detrimental to the environment.

“A build-up of rubbish can obstruct the natural flow and poses a real risk of flooding when water is travelling fast. ” 

Councillor Julie Carr, Cabinet member for Recycling, Waste and Open Spaces , said: “Flytipping into the river causes an unsightly blot on our beautiful surroundings and is harmful to the wildlife in and around it.

“Some local species are among those on the danger list of becoming extinct, so we really need to look after them.

“To the minority of people who are doing this – stop! The River Ouse is not a dumping ground.” 

Anyone caught illegally dumping rubbish either on land or water could face a fine up to £50,000 and a prison sentence of 12 months for a summary conviction.Environment Agency Flood Team Leader, Paul Levitt, said: “Fly tipping in and around watercourses is illegal.  It ruins the environment for people and the pollution can harm plants and animals. It can also increase flood risk, especially when it blocks our structures making maintenance work more difficult or even dangerous.”

Environmental problems can be reported quickly using the Report It smartphone app – download it at lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/streets-parking-and-travel/report-it/