Disbelief at dumping of fridge freezers in river Frome at Snuff Mills

April 03 2020
Disbelief at dumping of fridge freezers in river Frome at Snuff Mills

News from the Friends of Eastville Park

THE Friends of Eastville Park receive numerous and frequent calls or messages from park users about issues relating to the park. Occasionally, they might be unusual or even bizarre but now and again you can’t really be sure that you’re hearing what somebody is telling you!

On 3rd March, folk were reporting sightings of fridge freezers floating down river on the Frome from the direction of Snuff Mills towards Eastville Park. A short ride along the path to assess the situation revealed that several had become lodged up against submerged trees and branches at various points along the river while others were stranded at Snuff Mills and Colston weirs. The sense of disbelief was overwhelming and it took a while to collect our thoughts and decide on our response to the situation. The council Parks Department were informed, a team arrived and managed to clear a few that were accessible along the riverbank. By the following day a river in full flow had washed down several more so we decided to form a group made up from Frome Fairies and Parkwork and have a go at removing them. It was a cold, wet and miserable day but after a lot of hard work we were able to load 3 or 4 onto the truck and take them away for disposal. Last year, Frome Fairies were given a small grant for environmental improvements along the river and we’d just recently bought a small flat bottomed boat which we intend to use for collecting man made debris; plastics, discarded fishing line and the like. This proved invaluable and enabled us to row out to the freezers and attach hauling lines to bring them to the bank where they could be lifted out, below.

A full ten days later another freezer appeared in the river at Wickham Glen so with the help of a long pole, it was nudged into the current and passed downriver, under Wickham Bridge towards the weir in the hope that it would come to rest in a suitable place where it could be easily recovered. Unfortunately, it became jammed in debris just shy of the weir and we’re currently working on a plan to free it off in the next couple of days.

We’re fairly certain that the items were unloaded from a van into the river at Snuff Mills car park under cover of darkness on 2nd March. Efforts to trace the perpetrators has so far had no success. We are assuming that the load was dumped by unlicensed waste collectors, with the intention of avoiding fees charged for disposing of it at a civic amenity site. It’s obvious that the persons who did this are without conscience and gave no thought to the consequences of their actions in potentially affecting the ecosystem that thrives in this wonderful stretch of the River Frome; the shedding of particles of insulating foam and other plastics into the watercourse as well as the, albeit temporary, eyesore that park users experience.

The local community has been overwhelming in its outrage that this has happened in our park and would dearly love to see the culprits brought to justice. There have been calls for appropriately severe penalties and a desire to look to see how this can be prevented from happening in the future.

Andrew Gee

You can report fly-tipping here