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Massive trench dug on verge of A34 slip road, on land owned by National Highways Ltd (Title ON48908), trench used for ongoing large-scale dumping of scrap material, probably including toxic waste. Illegal activity and health and environmental hazards. Also noise/pollution screening trees pared back to their trunks.

Reported via desktop in the Structures (eg bridges, fencing, noise barriers) (NH) category anonymously at 20:46, Mon 10 July 2023

Sent to National Highways less than a minute later. FixMyStreet ref: 4771575.

A massive trench has been dug on National Highways land on the verge of the A34 slip road and used for large scale dumping of scrap building material and other waste, probably including toxic waste. Sound-screening trees have also been heavily cut back. The activity appears to be illegal in several ways and without any authorization or justification. It has been taking place over the past few years and it appears to be ongoing. The trench and dumped material remain almost hidden from view due the particular location and the surrounding foliage. This large-scale and on-going dumping, and its associated activities, need to be investigated by the police, the local authorities and National Highways Ltd (who own the land).

The site is located on land owned by National Highways Ltd under Land Registry Title ON48908. It is on the verge to the left of the northbound slip road on the Hinksey Hill Interchange running northbound onto the A34 dual carriageway in the South Hinksey Parish of Oxfordshire. The postcode of nearby residences is OX1 5BJ.

The land falls off quite steeply immediately from the left of the tarred single-lane slip road and is heavily covered with natural vegetation. At some distance beyond this slope is a long line of conifers, which run along the boundary of the strip of National Highways-owned land held under the above Title. A huge trench has been excavated in the hollow before the conifers and running parallel to the slip road. The trench appears to be approximated 8 metres wide and some 80-90 metres long. The conifers on the far side of the trench have been heavily pared back to their bare trunks, reducing their effectiveness as sound and pollution barriers from the A34 traffic. Trees and foliage on the slip road side of the trench have been left intact and these make the trench essentially invisible to traffic driving down the slip road. Elements of the trench and hints of materials dumped in it beneath the foliage can be seen through the foliage by inspection of Google maps satellite images. Pedestrian views of the trench are not possible because there is no space to walk down the edge of the slip road due to the bushes and the falling-away land immediately to its left. The only opportunity for such views would be on rare occasions when the slip road is closed to all traffic due to roadworks or an accident on the A34, but even then pedestrians would have no usual cause to walk down the narrow unprotected tarmac of the slip road.

This trench has been dug within the past few years. During this time and ongoing, very large amounts of rubbish have been dumped in it, including used scrap building materials and probably toxic wastes of various types.

The only access to the trench appears to be through a property called Wrens Hobbit on Betty Lane, OX1 5BJ, Oxford. This property contained only a stable, for which planning permission was obtained a few years ago for conversion into a one-bedroomed house, with several strict planning conditions imposed but probably not implemented. The property has a single driveway entrance from near the end of Betty Lane and this appears to now lead straight through adjacent to the house to a motor-vehicle sized gap in the rear boundary of conifers and fencing. This gap leads directly into the trench. Land Registry Title Plans show that the rear of the Wrens Hobbit property (ON92963) ends immediately in line with the back wall of the house and that the strip of National Highways Ltd land (ON48908) butts up immediately onto this. Thus, the entire trench and the material dumped in it appear to be on land owned by National Highways Ltd.

The activities taking place on, and associated with, this National Highways land appear to be illegal and the dumped material is likely to be a health hazard as well as an environmental hazard. Damage is also being done to the screening effects of the trees and natural foliage as these are being reduced.

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  • Thank you for making your report. Our inspector has attended this location and it has been passed onto the relevant department for review.

    Kind regards National Highways

    State changed to: Internal referral

    Posted by National Highways at 15:42, Tue 18 July 2023

This report is now closed to updates from the public. You can make a new report in the same location.