Letters: 'Fly-tipping or community recycling'

Songworks Community Choir.

Songwork's Denise Dobson was fined £400 for leaving a child's desk outside her home - then her choir chipped in - Credit: Archant

Geoff and Mariana Bayley, Park Avenue South, Crouch End, write:

With its wilful inability to differentiate between fly-tipping and community recycling (Choir covers 'appalling' £400 fly-tipping fine for child's desk) Haringey Council has set out its stall against community benevolence. Who amongst us hasn’t left items outside for others to re-use? The council’s approach detracts from rather than fosters the good of the community. Its actions are both wrong-headed and disingenuous.

In my mind, fly tipping legislation aims primarily at illegal dumping of potentially hazardous waste in public spaces, especially beauty spots. It is a crime committed anonymously, the culprit has to be observed or tracked down. By contrast, community recyclers place their items immediately outside their property, usually with a note “please take” and so declare a transparent responsibility. These are once loved, household objects presented as free gifts in an act that favours sustainability over waste. It is indeed disingenuous to impose heavy fines designed for the former against the latter.

This is much more than an-example of a sledgehammer to crack a nut, it is wrong headed to see these as the same phenomena and legitimate to ask who benefits from such myopia. Haringey Council needs to re-think its actions if it is to fulfil its aspiration to “be bold” in finding sustainable solutions to recycling waste.

Louise Morris, Muswell Hill, full address supplied, writes:

Denise Dobson, director of Songworks choir

Denise Dobson, director of Songworks choir - Credit: Denise Dobson

I am shocked to hear that my choir leader has been fined £400 for leaving a child’s desk outside her house for recycling.

Has the council gone mad? They need to focus on repeat offenders of fly-tipping, and to inform Haringey residents of exactly what can be recycled.

Come on Haringey. Focus on the big stuff.

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Jill Lenaerts, Muswell Hill, full address supplied, writes:

The money and a card from Songworks choir covering the fine

The money and a card from Songworks choir covering the fine - Credit: Denise Dobson

I’m sure that I’m not alone in being shocked to discover that leaving a child’s desk outside one’s front door, with the intention that it could be rehomed, is now classed as “illegal fly-tipping” by Haringey Council.

Most people view this practice as evidence of community spirit, where the intention is to reduce waste and encourage reuse of an item which is in good condition. In most of these cases the item is clearly labelled, does not cause an obstruction on the street and is not left out longer than 24 hours, if it has not been taken.

Issuing PCNs with a fine of £400 is an inappropriate and lazy way for Haringey Council to make money... “a nice little earner”.

They need to reconsider this disproportionate and unjust approach. Penalty fines should reflect the severity of the offence ie, the impact on the wider environment, as well as the cost and effort (if any) needed to clean the area where the “fly tipping” has happened.

More important still, Haringey Council needs to learn how to provide consistent, clear communication with the community it serves.