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Villagers disgusted as bags of soil waste are dumped alongside popular walking route


By Alan Hendry

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Pat Ramsay pointing to some of the black plastic bags full of soil waste that were dumped in a ditch on the road to Noss. Picture: Alan Hendry
Pat Ramsay pointing to some of the black plastic bags full of soil waste that were dumped in a ditch on the road to Noss. Picture: Alan Hendry

Residents in a Caithness village say they are disgusted by an outbreak of fly-tipping on a popular walking route.

Around 18 large black bin bags full of soil waste were dumped in a ditch close to Staxigoe.

The bags, some of which have burst open, are creating an unsightly spectacle alongside the single-track road leading to Noss, known locally as the Hill Road.

Eight or nine full bags were discarded in one spot, and several metres further up the road there are nine or 10 more bulging bin-liners.

Villagers are urging anyone with unwanted items to dispose of them properly at the Highland Council household waste recycling centre in Wick.

The issue was highlighted this week by Pat Ramsay, a member of Sinclair's Bay Community Council and a volunteer with Staxigoe, Papigoe and Noss Resilience Group.

Some of the bulging bin liners of soil waste that were discarded alongside a popular walking route at Staxigoe. Picture: Alan Hendry
Some of the bulging bin liners of soil waste that were discarded alongside a popular walking route at Staxigoe. Picture: Alan Hendry

“A number of people who had been out walking noticed that there were bags of rubbish," she said.

“Initially people thought somebody had just dumped their household waste, but folk from the village had a wee look and realised it was soil waste.

“I think a lot of people are just disgusted to think that somebody actually could do that.

“There are about 18 [bags] there now but there were certainly more in the last few weeks and in a few different locations, so not just in the one place.

“It looks as though somebody has dropped it off from a vehicle, gone a bit further and dropped another load, but we have no idea."

The fly-tipping plea comes after a community-led effort to tackle dog-fouling in the area. Six home-made poo-bag dispensers have been installed at various points to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets.

Pat Ramsay of Sinclair's Bay Community Council at the bottom of the road leading to Noss, known locally as the Hill Road, where approximately 18 large bags of soil waste were dumped in a ditch. Picture: Alan Hendry
Pat Ramsay of Sinclair's Bay Community Council at the bottom of the road leading to Noss, known locally as the Hill Road, where approximately 18 large bags of soil waste were dumped in a ditch. Picture: Alan Hendry

That followed on from a clean-up last month by local residents Pam Jack and Wendy Sutherland, who collected 14.1 kilograms of dog waste between the end of Elzy Road and a point beyond the local war memorial.

Mrs Ramsay reiterated that local people are keen to make the area pleasant for everyone.

“It's a lovely community and particularly over the last year we've used it really well," she said. "It has been used by our own community and people come from the town, park their cars and walk, which is great.

“We want it to be for everybody, and we want to enhance our community, but we don't want people to dump – whatever it may be.”

Household waste recycling centres, including the one in Wick, accept garden waste as long as it has been bagged.

A spokesperson for Highland Council said: “Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste. It is also a waste of council tax payers’ money if council staffing and resources are diverted to public land to clear up fly-tipping.

“You can report litter using the report form on the council’s website.

“We can issue fines from £200 to £20,000 or the offender can receive six months in prison (up to five years if hazardous waste is dumped).”

The spokesperson added: “We can investigate, but do not remove items from private land.”

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