ACCORDING to the prevention of damage by pests act 1949, the council has a duty to protect the area it covers from pests such as rats and mice.

However, I discovered that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council appears to have little regard for this act after someone decided to fly tip a load of stinking rubbish in a car park area outside my home in Cranbourne.

The rubbish, which we believe was dumped in daylight, includes a double mattress and about a dozen bin bags filled with household waste including rotting food.

This area, although privately owned, is a thoroughfare, and in the summer months the dilapidated empty garages are often used by teenagers as somewhere to congregate.

I thought the council would be quick to act when I reported the fly tipping.

Presumably they wouldn't want anyone to be accidentally injured on the broken glass, or for the rotting food to attract rats.

However, they refused to remove the waste because it is on private land.

This might seem quite reasonable, as it should be the landlord’s responsibility.

That is true. Except it's not as simple as that. The waste is spread across a patch of land which is owned by two different landlords, one who said the owners of two blocks of four maisonettes (ourselves included) are responsible for maintaining, and the other who has no email address or telephone number to contact them.

Also, last year, the borough council was quite happy to use this so-called private car park to dump its own waste when it was carrying out works to our street.

For weeks we had rubble, diggers and equipment stored in the area whilst the work was taking place, without any consultation with the landowners or residents who live there prior to this happening.

The council was quite happy to claim this land to use for its benefit then, but as soon as we asked for help in return by removing some fly-tipping, they refuse.

I should also point out that the council's refuse collection bin would struggle to turn around at the end of our road without using this car park.

I've had endless conversations with different people to try and get this sorted, without success, and a month after it was dumped the waste is still there.

One local councillor, who I won't name as I appreciate his intentions were to try and help, suggested I try dragging it all onto council owned land.

We've had hot weather, and the smell is awful.

I can smell it from my garden, and I fear it will become a target for other fly-tipping if it's not removed.

I also worry about someone being injured, or it attracting rats to the area.

However, my biggest frustration is that I warned the council that this area was at risk of being targeted by fly-tippers last year.

The garages are empty and falling apart. The area is all overgrown. I informed the council, asking them what could be done to force the owner to tidy it up.

But nothing was done. And now my fears have become a reality.

I've pointed this all out again, but a member of staff from environmental health has informed me they will not remove rubbish on private land. Not even if it attracts rats.

I've been told that they have little power to force the landlords to take any action to remove it themselves or to maintain the area in general to prevent fly-tipping in the future.

They will try to liaise with the landlords, but it is not a priority.

Surely there should be some sort of enforcement action the council can use to ensure land owners maintain areas, particularly those which are used by the public as a walk-through?

This situation really highlights an issue with privately owned land, and is something that may only get worse with an increase in new estates being built in Basingstoke which can take years to be passed over to the council.

And what message does it send out to fly-tippers? Dump your rubbish on private land and you'll get away with it?

BDBC was contacted for a comment on the situation. Head of environmental services Tom Payne said: “We take fly-tipping in our borough very seriously and take court action where possible. This has resulted in 10 prosecutions since April 2018 for fly-tipping.

"Our main priority when fly-tipping is reported is to take action against the fly-tippers if sufficient evidence is available to do so. An officer visited Halliday Close on the day this issue was reported.

"No evidence was found to identify the person responsible for this fly-tipping and no witnesses have come forward. There was no evidence of any rodent activity and therefore no action can be taken under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act.

"However the council has powers to require landowners to remove such waste. Where fly-tipping occurs on privately owned land we will contact the landowner to ask them to clear the waste themselves.

"We have carried out a land registry search, and are contacting the owner of the land to request this waste is cleared. It is not acceptable to dump waste on any land and we will continue our enforcement work and, where appropriate, prosecute offenders and stamp out this inconsiderate act.

"We would encourage anyone who witnessed anyone fly-tipping to report this to the council either online or by phoning 01256 844844.”