A FLY-TIPPING hotspot on the outskirts of Newport which has been branded a "national embarrassment," and used to highlight calls for action on the issue.

Welsh Labour MS Jayne Bryant said rubbish had long been dumped illegally "on an industrial scale" at an unused access lane, west of Newport, that she dubbed the "road to nowhere".

The amount of waste dumped at the Newport site is so large that it can be seen clearly on Google Earth satellite images.

"These scenes are a national embarrassment, and the proximity to the M4 means this spot is used by those firms who claim to get rid of rubbish legally but instead dump it illegally," Newport West representative Ms Bryant said. "The criminality is shocking."

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Recent figures show more than 33,000 fly-tipping incidents were recorded in Wales last year, costing councils eye-watering sums to clean up.

The costs were highest in Cardiff, where the council spent £309,000 of its budget on clearing illegal waste in 2019-20.

Some 70 per cent of what was dumped in Wales last year was household waste, figures show. But there were nearly 200 examples of asbestos being dumped, as well as more than 1,000 fly-tipping incidents each of construction materials, white goods, and green (garden) waste.

The National Wales: Mattresses, bed frames and other household waste dumped illegally in western Newport. Picture: The NationalMattresses, bed frames and other household waste dumped illegally in western Newport. Picture: The National

The figures also show fly-tipping prosecutions hit a 14-year low in Wales last year.

Offenders can be fined up to £50,000 and in the most serious cases receive prison sentences. But last year, just 29 fines were issued to offenders nationwide, while two more people received community service orders and one more was given an absolute or conditional discharge.

The National Wales: Hundreds of tyres are piled up on the unused road, where Newport City Council plans to install CCTV this month. Picture: The NationalHundreds of tyres are piled up on the unused road, where Newport City Council plans to install CCTV this month. Picture: The National

Ms Bryant told the Senedd rubbish from Bristol, the Midlands and various parts of Wales had been found dumped at the Newport hotspot.

Local residents and "stretched" local government struggled to deal with the problem alone, she said, urging environment minister Lesley Griffiths to "look again" at Welsh Government intervention to clean up the site.

Welsh Conservative MS Laura Anne Jones, who represents the South Wales East region, told the Senedd the illegal dumping ground was "an appalling state of affairs".

A rise in fly-tipping hotspots in that region of Wales "has been made worse during the pandemic", she added.

The National Wales: The piles of waste can be seen on satellite images. Picture: GoogleThe piles of waste can be seen on satellite images. Picture: Google

Ms Jones asked Ms Griffiths how the government would work with councils on "robust measures... to ensure this sort of thing doesn't happen again".

In response, the minister said meetings with Newport City Council had brought "good progress" but "the site does remain vulnerable to further tipping".

The Welsh Government-sponsored Fly-Tipping Action Wales had provided councils with surveillance equipment and training on investigative techniques, Ms Griffiths added.

But the minister said it was "disappointing" that prosecutions remained low in many areas of Wales.

"I would just urge all local authorities to use everything that we've provided in support and legislative tools in the first instance," Ms Griffiths added.

The National Wales: Access to the road has been blocked, but people continue to dump waste at the former entrance. Picture: The NationalAccess to the road has been blocked, but people continue to dump waste at the former entrance. Picture: The National

Newport City Council told The National permanent CCTV would be installed at the site this month.

A spokeswoman said the dumping of waste there was "clearly being done by illicit operators for commercial purposes".

"There is absolutely no excuse for fly-tipping either by members of the public or businesses," she added.

Local resident Chris Taylor said there had been enforcement patrols in the area but rubbish was still being dumped.

"The surrounding area is really nice – it's such a shame," he said of the fly-tipping hotspot. "I find it really hard to believe people go and dump waste in the countryside and think it's acceptable."

The National Wales: Toys and baby products are strewn across the road among piles of household and trade waste. Picture: The NationalToys and baby products are strewn across the road among piles of household and trade waste. Picture: The National

Members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said the Newport site had been described as looking like a "war-zone".

“The Coedkernew-Duffryn area looks like something from Mad Max, an apocalyptic scene," said John Miller, Lib Dem Senedd candidate for Newport West. "There are scores of abandoned industrial tyres, machine parts and dumped rubble everywhere.”

Newport City Council said it had increased enforcement in the area, which has several owners. The responsibility for clearing fly-tipping on private land rests solely with the landowner.

A recent crackdown by local authority officials had led to five people being fined, two vehicles being seized, and two pending prosecutions, the council spokeswoman told The National.

But Jo Watkins, Lib Dem candidate for South Wales East, said courts should consider destroying vehicles connected to illegal dumping.

‘‘In court cases, magistrates need to seriously consider the option that vehicles used for fly-tipping should be forfeited to cover the council’s costs incurred in the investigation, its enforcement and in clearing up the pollution or debris," she said.

The city council also warned residents to be wary of rogue waste-removal firms who offered quick and cheap services.

"If [people] pay someone to take it away and it ends up being fly-tipped, they could be held responsible and fined," the council spokeswoman said.

Anyone using such services should always ask to see a firm's original waste carrier certificate and keep a record of the firm's details in case any fly-tipped waste is traced back to them, the council advised.