MANY people would agree that we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. South Lakeland, part of which lies in the Lake District National Park, has a wealth of lovely countryside.

It is this landscape - with its becks, fells and fine areas of woodland - which is a major attraction for tourists and one which South Lakeland District Council promotes heavily when highlighting the district as a great place to live, work and explore.

So, bearing all this in mind, why on earth would people act in a way that spoils and blights it?

Fly-tipping remains a big problem in South Lakeland, despite the commendable efforts of SLDC, whose tough stance and zero tolerance approach is being reflected in falling numbers of incidents being reported.

However, records for the last full year show that there were still 380 logged incidents in the area - that is more than one per day.

They include bags of household waste and larger items, such as bulky furniture, dumped on land off secluded country lanes.

This can cause environmental damage as rubbish can be a source of pollution, a potential danger to public health and a hazard to wildlife.

There is also a real cost to the taxpayer of clearing it up and investigating incidents, which runs into thousands of pounds.

That is why The Westmorland Gazette has today launched a new campaign - Stop the Fly-Tippers.

It aims to raise awareness of the issue and the damage that fly-tipping causes.

It also urges readers to let us know about any sightings of dumped rubbish so that we can inform the district council and the trash can be swiftly cleared away.

And it also encourages readers to inform the local authority of any fly-tipping incidents that they witness so that swift action can be taken to try to track down and prosecute the offenders.

It is hard to understand why anyone would dump their rubbish in the countryside - is it just laziness because they cannot be bothered to travel to a recognised waste disposal site? Or are some trying to avoid the cost of paying for disposal of bulky items?

Whatever the reason, fly-tipping is unacceptable and we all need to play our part in ridding the area of this scourge.