The dumping of 49 tonnes of construction waste on a much-loved green space at the weekend has been condemned as a “despicable anti-social act”.
Damian Rafferty, the Chairman of Mabley Green Users Group, was appalled by the damage to the community meadow by the waste, which was enough to cover an area the size of a football field.
The council has already spent £10,500 on clean-up and repair costs. Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said on Wednesday: “We will not tolerate criminal and anti-social behaviour such as this shocking example of fly-tipping.
“We will do everything we can to make sure that people who fly-tip in Hackney are brought to justice.”
After finding several vehicles at the scene on Wednesday, Hackney Council gave a group of Irish travellers 24 hours to leave the area.
As yet, the eviction of the travellers and the fly-tipping are being treated as separate issues by Hackney Council.
While not wishing to speculate on a connection between the travellers and the waste that was dumped at the weekend, Mr Rafferty said: “We must never let this happen again. To ensure fly-tipping does not occur, we need to close the entrance to the site.
“At the moment the travelling community are at the entrance so it will be difficult to secure the site until the travellers leave.”
Matthew Brindley, spokesperson for the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain, spoke out against the idea of traveller evictions in principle, although he did not comment on this specific case.
Mr Brindley said: “We don’t believe eviction is a solution to anything. It can be very traumatic for children and detrimental to their health and education.
“They become effectively homeless and will have to set up camp somewhere else.”
Meanwhile, Mr Rafferty added he was “greatly touched” by the way local families and children got together to maintain the meadow in the past and would like to see the area enhanced by ideas such as table tennis and outdoor chess in the future./ 19 December, 2013