A WHOPPING four tonnes of garden waste was shamelessly flytipped in the middle of a main road - and quickly caused traffic havoc.

The pile of waste blocked Beeches Road, Hullbridge yesterday morning, leaving drivers backed up and unable to get through.

Michael Hoy, a Rochford councillor said: “I was down there and it blocked the whole road, no one could get through. It was awful.

“It looked like a tipper truck had just dropped its load and left, it was clearly commercial waste. I worry that this is a sign that it will get worse because some recycling centres no longer takes garden waste.”

Stuart Wilson, a councillor for the Hullbridge ward, added: “It looked like this had been done by a professional.

“It is definitely more than a coincidence that this has happened since they banned the disposal of garden waste at sites. It was inevitable this was going to happen I suppose. That is why the opposition voted against it at Essex County Council because we knew this would happen.”

A resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I have never seen anything like it, there was rubbish dumped on the road. There was no way this could have been an accident. I was trying to use the road and couldn’t get through, it more than doubled my travel time.”

Essex Highways were on the scene early on to set up a diversion and help remove the debris from the road.

A spokesman from Rochford Council said: “We were contacted at about 8.25am with a report that garden waste/felled trees had been fly tipped and that the road had been temporarily closed as a precaution.

“When our contractors, Suez, arrived the debris had already been cleared to the side of the road. They have had to arrange for another contractor to remove the waste later.” Dave Sperring, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “It is truly shocking that anyone would be selfish enough to do this.”

** AT the end of October last year, Essex County Council introduced a ban on DIY and construction waste to 12 of its recycling centres.

Many argued the change would increase fly tipping in the area, but the council refuted these claims.

The change was introduced in an effort to reduce the amount of commercial waste illegally dumped at recycling centres - and to cut costs.

Centres include Canvey and Rayleigh, where you can only take a limited amount of DIY and commercial waste.

Simon Walsh, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “The Council took the decision to clamp down on the illegal commercial use of Recycling Centres for Household Waste, which had been the cause of a huge cost to the taxpayer.

“We have already considerably reduced the amount of commercial waste illegally going to our recycling centres and there is no evidence that improving enforcement has led to an increase in criminal behaviour as there are commercial outlets available in Essex for those wanting to dispose of business waste. Essex is a zero tolerance county on fly-tipping. It is an extremely serious illegal activity with fines of up to £50,000 and we are continuing to work with those affected as well as several partners, including the Essex Rural Partnership and National Farmers’ Union, to look at how we can tackle this issue head on.”