Harlow councillors shocked by scale of plastic waste pollution impacting local farm

Lifestyle / Thu 25th May 2023 at 08:43am

ROYDON Lea Farm in Harlow has been seriously blighted by a monumental increase in plastic and dog fouling waste being dumped into Canons Brook.

The farm, which neighbours the Canons Brook golf course has seen the brook burst its banks several times in recent years due to the abnormally high rain fall. This has meant that large amounts of plastic and dog waste has settled on the farmland which is used to graze cattle.

Harlow Council is appealing to those responsible to stop dumping plastic and other waste into the town’s watercourses and rivers due to the impact it has on the environment and wildlife. People’s lazy and shocking waste habits are having serious implications on the town’s wildlife.

Councillor Nicky Purse, Portfolio Holder for the Environment and the Leader of Harlow Council, Councillor Russell Perrin, recently visited the farm to see the scale of the pollution and were shocked with what they witnessed. The council has reported the pollution to the Environment Agency who are investigating.

Councillor Nicky Purse said “The shock and pure disappointment hit me as I opened the pictures of the pollution in Canons Brook. I replied within seconds to Susan, Matthew and Chris who have farmed the land all their lives and I alerted the Environmental Agency. Within days I was visiting Roydon Lea farm with the Environment Agency. It was clear from the moment I set eyes on the pollution of the brook this was massive. After spending time with the family who have lived and worked on the farm for almost 100 years; it has been heart wrenching to hear how the pollution is putting their life’s work and their cattle in peril.

“If the horror of the plastic pollution wasn’t enough then there’s Neosporosis, Sarcocystosis both of which comes from dog faeces which has travelled downstream to the farm. The details of the effects caused by parasites which is passed to cows and sheep is truly horrifying. It is something that horror films are made off.”

Councillor Russell Perrin, added: “The problem with the plastic waste and in particular the dog waste bags, apart from the obvious, is that cattle it appears are attracted to eating plastic like a moth is attracted to a flame. This means that the cattle ingest dog faeces which is laden with the toxic pathogen Neospora. The pathogen causes severe deformity in unborn calves which does not become apparent until the cow reaches the end of pregnancy. In most cases the calf is so badly deformed that the cow cannot give birth naturally and so a caesarean is required to remove the dead calf. Worse still the cows muscles are usually so weak that the stitching from the caesarean does not hold and the cow has to be destroyed. 

“Why anyone would go through the effort to pick up dog poo in a plastic bag only to throw it in a river is beyond me. My message to any member of the public that thinks it’s a good idea to chuck their waste in a river is think again, you are throwing a highly toxic substance into water which is literally killing wildlife. Put it in a bin, it’s not that difficult.”

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6 Comments for Harlow councillors shocked by scale of plastic waste pollution impacting local farm:

Mark Lavender
2023-05-25 08:58:35

If the council brought back the annual big bin collections on each estate which Harlow used to have then maybe people would be less inclined to dispose of their waste elsewhere. i believe it is also not possible to use the local tip with walk-ins which many people are not aware of. Unless you have a big home improvement plan in mind locals get lumbered with inconvenient pieces of waste unsuitable for a skip or a heavy squad collection.

Kim Oconnor
2023-05-25 10:08:25

If you make it harder for people to dispose of waist, then what do you expect. The less complicated to dispose of waist, more people will use tips. Book on line. Carnt walk in. Charge per item to pick up, if over 3 items, it can be exspensive. It's all about the money, as per usual. You have to make it easy for people to dispose of waist,not harder. Annual big bin collection s, is one way.

2023-05-25 10:19:07

Farmers downstream of Harlow have lost livestock and crops due to pollution from Harlow for many years, they pointed this out in objections to the Eastern crossing and hggt Gilston Estate but no notice has been taken by Harlow Council. The current Conservative administration also took no notice of the serious sewage discharges into the Stort brought to their notice by the Save Our Stort : Friends of Latton Island campaign group, the 6000 strong petition against and did nothing to prevent Canon's Brook being repeatedly polluted by industrial dyes. If Cllrs Nicky Purse and Russell Perrin are "shocked" they should get out more and shouldn't have voted for the decimation of the Stort Valley River through Harlow. This shock horror seems an attempt to blame the residents, greenwashing the Conservatives whilst pushing through policies that encourage flytipping by restricting access and effectively privatising the waste disposal systems, charging twice for disposal for which we already pay via Council tax.

Jo Revitt
2023-05-25 19:44:10

The Councillors 'are shocked', don't make me laugh. Do they ever visit the town they represent? Of course they don't. If they were employed by a private company none of them would have a job for long. They continue to take local residents for fools. Make the right noises, if they can even be bothered to do that,and then do nothing. This does not detract from the appalling behaviour of those littering in the first place, these people are just as bad as the Councillors.

2023-05-26 05:26:12

I used to play other there as a kid and now I am in my sixties. It was exactly the same then maybe worse.

2023-05-26 09:12:53

You can put all the bins out you want and it makes no difference. I live near Harlow/ latton common, and we have an above average number of bins. Yet people still park up with their fast food lunches and chuck the rubbish out of their cars even when parked within 6 feet of a bin. I put it down to ignorance and poor education. If it was not for people like the potter street wombles, the place would look like a tip

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