‘Furious’ Islington Council exploring legal action over Upper Holloway fly-tipping
- Credit: Archant
“Furious” Islington Council has vowed to take fly-tippers to court after a mountain of potentially toxic commercial waste was dumped in an Upper Holloway industrial estate.
Landowners Telereal Trillium are expected to start clearing the stinking mess from Bush Industrial Estate in Station Road tomorrow.
But neighbours believe if the town hall and police had listened the first time they reported the illegal operation, the problem wouldn’t be half as bad.
Lorryloads of rubbish began being emptied in the site on February 25, days after travellers broke in. It was initially being dumped in a disused warehouse that had been broken into, but after a week the whole place was filled with rubbish.
Neighbours in Wedmore Gardens, whose homes back onto the site, alerted the council and police as soon as the dumping started, and then watched as trucks with covered number plates arrived hourly to unload tonnes of waste.
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It eventually stopped on Sunday after the town hall and cops pulled over several vehicles and evicted the travellers. But Michael Slee, who runs the Wedmore Gardens estate management company, questioned why it took so long to act.
He said: “We’ve been asking why the police didn’t stop them coming in and out of the site but we never got a straight answer. There’s only one way in.
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“It was a very slick operation. You’d think it was a professional one. We were just watching it pile up by the day, as late as midnight. We’ve been told it could have asbestos.”
Michael explained the warehouse used to be rented – but not used – by Royal Mail, which stationed a security guard there 24/7.
Another neighbour, Anita Frizzarin, reported the dumping to the police and council on Wednesday last week when the site was half-full and believes the scale of the problem could have been avoided. Town hall bosses are now talking to Telereal and the Environment Agency about potential legal action – and getting the site cleared.
A council spokesman said the operation on Sunday required significant police and council resources, and went ahead as soon as possible.
Councils do not legally have the power to stop vehicles in the street on their own, he added, and it is the landowner’s responsibility to clear the site.
Environment boss Cllr Claudia Webbe said she was “furious” about the fly-tip.
A spokeswoman for Telereal dismissed reports the site had been left open and said the clean-up would begin tomorrow if an eviction notice was granted at a hearing today.
She explained: “The trespassers cut through two sets of padlocks and chains on the main gates, as well as a metal vehicle perimeter barrier that was secured on either side by blocks that were placed in front of the gates. This was a carefully planned act of organised criminal activity.”
Islington police told the Gazette they were looking into why action was not taken sooner.