A BLOCKED culvert, which contained debris, a dead cat and a mattress, caused a £15,000 clean-up to prevent flooding.
Culverts run underneath Southend to allow water to pass underneath and acts as an overflow when it is raining. There are certain pinch-points where debris swept along with heavy rainfall can collect and get stuck.
The blockage occurred at a point underneath the A127, where Prittlebrook Greenway crosses Victoria Avenue, where rubbish and debris completely blocked the 6ft wide tunnel.
In amongst the natural waste of leaves and branches, there were mattresses, a trolley and sadly, a dead cat.
Coun Martin Terry, cabinet member for public protection, said: “I think it’s awfully sad that some poor owner could be missing their pet cat and it’s been stuck in this blockage.
“It goes to show the true cost of fly-tipping and how dumping rubbish instead of disposing of it properly, has a knock-on effect. It would take longer for the natural debris, tree branches and leaves to collect and create blockages if the mattresses and trollies hadn’t also been there.
“Aside from the flooding risk this blockage caused, an innocent animal has died and it’s cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds to fix. Some of the engineers at the council have carried out this sort of work for many years and none of them had seen a blockage like this – it really is quite incredible it got this bad.”
As a result of this blocked culvert, the engineering teams at Southend City Council have increased their inspection regime, so that problems and possible blockages can be found sooner, as well as working closely with the Environment Agency.
Coun Terry added: “Residents can also do their bit. If you see rubbish in the Prittlewell Brook, whether a tree branch or a trolley, please report it on My Southend and please dispose of your rubbish responsibly, there really is no excuse for fly-tipping and if caught, we will prosecute.”
Fly-tipping is a criminal offence under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Offenders can be given a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice for small-scale fly-tipping.
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