By Denna Bowman
A group of young volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and cleared a path in a nature spot – removing 140 fly-tipped tyres.
The illegally dumped tyres had built up over many years until the clean-up operation got under way at Foxlease Meadows, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest near Fleet.
Members of the Youth Volunteering Project were brought in to clear the 33-hectare site, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence and has recently been leased to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
The organisation got volunteers, aged 12 to 25 and from Basingstoke and Deane, who were either out of work or education, to clear a 200-metre path overgrown with scrub.
But in clearing the path, they found the dumped tyres on the ground and in a nearby ditch.
Sophie Curtis, youth volunteering officer, said: “They were shocked and appalled that people would fly-tip without any regard for the conservation area.
“The tyres had clearly been dumped there over many years and one tyre even had a large tree growing right through the middle of it.”
The team removed all the tyres from the area, and Tyre Recycling Service, of Fareham, Hampshire, took them away for free for use in land drainage and sea defence projects.