William Hogg

Q&A with the Anti-Fly-Tipping

Gill Sherry

Originally from Dalrymple, William Hogg has lived in Ayr for the last 15 years. As well as running his business, WSH Fencing, he has also taken it upon himself to try and educate the people of Ayrshire when it comes to the disposal of rubbish. You may have seen one of his many (humorous) videos, filmed at the scene of various fly-tipping sites throughout the county.
I caught up with William to ask about his anti-fly-tipping campaign and what motivates him to continue to dispose of other people’s rubbish at this own expense.
What started you on this campaign of yours?
I’m self-employed, I do fencing, and customers are always saying, “Are you taking the old fence away?” because they’re concerned you’re going to charge for it. I always build it into the price. There are contractors that do jobs and then just leave debris and old fences lying about, which was creating fly-tipping. It snowballed from there.
How do you think this problem can be resolved?
The amount of rubbish lying about, it’s worse than I thought it was. But most of the rubbish is commercial waste. Common sense is to build the uplift into the price and then the whole thing is painless. It’s blatantly obvious.
Do you think the videos are helping?
It’s a struggle because it’s just a small minority, but the videos do have an impact. Not a day goes by when somebody doesn’t approach me and say “I watch all your videos”. That’s why I put humour in… to get folk thinking about it. If they laugh about a situation, they can look at the bigger picture. They’re crazy, mad videos but you don’t want to come across as a bore do you? What I try to do is make it educational and I know the videos are working because I get less calls about fly-tipping.
But surely you can’t tackle this issue on your own?
I’m working with Councillor Martin McBride, he’s a supporter. He’s been very, very helpful.
Do you ever involve the police?
It’s hard because the bother is proving it. People may pay somebody legally, in their eyes, to get rid of the rubbish. I found two letters and a bank statement with an address on it… but maybe that person has paid somebody to dump it.
Why are you lifting the rubbish and not leaving it for the Council?
If you go online and report it, the Council should lift it within a certain time limit. But because of cutbacks it sometimes takes longer. This is where the problem lies. People see a black spot and start dumping there.
Tell me about Percy.
I bought a camera and called it Percy! I say, “Look, I’m watching this area now, I’ve left Percy.” What I’m trying to do is to deter it.
What kinds of things are people dumping?
Some people are dumping their brown bin waste. In East Ayrshire it’s £15 for a special uplift. Some people can’t afford £15. Somebody dumped a two-piece suite. I can understand that because they can’t afford to pay somebody to lift it. What I can’t understand is the quality, high-spec stuff. Somebody dumped a suitcase full of clothes, it was a good suitcase. There was also a 25 x 10-foot carpet… and new tins of paint.
Do you receive negative feedback from anyone?
I’ve had a couple of threats… and a couple of messages from fictitious Facebook accounts. It doesn’t bother me, 99.9% of the public are on my side so I don’t worry about it.
Why do you feel obliged to dispose of the rubbish at your own expense?
There’s no point doing the talk without doing the walk, are you with me?
So, you’ll continue with your campaign?
Aye. What I’m trying to do is get folk interested and bring these problems to the forefront.
You can view William’s videos (and show support for his campaign) on the WSH Fencing Facebook page.