JO DAVISON: Council scheme is just rubbish – and will blight our countryside

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where there’s muck there’s brass...

Councils in Somerset are now charging people to dump their rubbish. And it could be us next.

In cider country it’s £2 a time to dump your household junk at an authority tip (chuck a tyre and it’s over £4).

It’s not only an outrageous way of extracting money out of decent, fair-minded people, it’s a move destined to ruin our countryside.

Smug Somerset officials are patting themselves on the back, though – because, on day one, only four people out of 140 refused to pay and drove away.

Are they dim? What about all those who didn’t bother to turn up because they didn’t want to pay for the privilege of keeping their neighbourhood tidy? And what happened to the junk the four who turned away had crammed into the back of their cars?

You’re not telling me it didn’t end up blighting some local beauty spot.

Councils across the country could well follow Somerset’s lead. It just won’t work. Not so long ago, Rotherham Council introduced charges at its tips for larger vehicles and commercial vans and I see the result of that stupid, short-sighted decision every day on the journey to work, and every weekend, when I walk the dog.

Hillocks of used tyres, plastic pipes, battered breeze-blocks and concrete now form part of the landscape.

Just last week in Blackburn woods someone dumped a full kitchen. There it sat, amid the still budding bluebells. As the former owners gaze proudly at their shiny new cupboards, they won’t give a second’s thought about the mouldering mess they’ve made in a beautiful and tranquil little slice of ancient English woodland.

It’s gone from their back garden and that’s that.

The majority of sensible, fair-minded people do care – and will begrudgingly put up and pay up if their tip starts charging.

But the rest will simply join all the other oiks and dump their junk in the nearest country lane or farmer’s field.

Just so long as it’s not on my doorstep is their motto (it’s a wonder they don’t have it tattooed on their forearms – which are surely long enough).

I’d say the same principle applies to councils who go along with such a scheme.