Rainham road closed as tactic to stop flytipping

Road blocked Gerpins Lane

Little Gerpins Lane was closed in 2017 by Havering Council. - Credit: Harry Fisher

A road in Rainham has been closed to traffic as a way to stop flytippers abusing the stretch.

Havering Council said it was costing the local authority over £1 million a year to clear waste on Little Gerpins Lane, so it shut the road to traffic in 2017.

Little Gerpins Lane is by Berwick Ponds Farm, a 240ha plot where potatoes, cereals, spinach and herbs such as parsley and coriander are grown by owner of 35 years, Harry Fisher.

The 58-year-old said the closure means farm equipment is forced to take "long detours".

Havering’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Osman Dervish, said: “Little Gerpins Lane was closed by us in 2017 as the amount of flytipping being cleared in that road was costing the council over £1m a year.”  

He added: “Since the closure, while there continues to be some flytipping, the amount has decreased significantly.”  

In response to this, Harry said: “We might as well close all the roads then.  

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“It has reduced flytipping on that road because it is now closed and people flytip elsewhere.” 

Harry claimed flytipping on Little Gerpins Lane was at its peak in 2017, and although his farm hasn’t had “lorryloads” tipped on it since, he still finds waste around. 

In summer last year, Harry said he left a gate open and witnessed a van dump rubbish at the entrance of the field.  

Now Harry feels forced to shut and lock the gates at all times. 

He said: “We have to put concrete blocks in front of gates and have to use a telehandler to move them out the way to enter the field.”  

Harry has been plagued by flytippers over the years - in 2017 he reached his tipping point and gave up the tenancy on a 38ha Thurrock-based farm due to it being repeatedly targeted with lorry-loads of rubbish.  

He said he spent “more time cleaning up the field than farming it”.  

Flytipping

Flytipping on the roadside of Harry's farm. - Credit: Harry Fisher

Cllr Dervish said: “Havering remains in the top 10 of London boroughs carrying out enforcement action against flytipping."

The council carries out around 6,000 enforcement actions a year, he added.  

Harry encouraged everyone to dispose of their rubbish responsibly. 

The council offered to speak with Harry.