Top Gear’s The Stig makes stand against ‘absurd’ West Country landfill plans

Top Gear’s former test driver, The Stig, is throwing his weight behind a campaign to block plans for an inert landfill site in the West Country. Ben Collins, who was the anonymous speed demon setting lap times on the popular TV show, regularly uses the road through Enterprise Avenue in Tiverton in Devon

Locals are concerned that this route will be swamped by lorries if the proposal gets the green light. Waste disposal firm Decharge Ltd has lodged an application with the council to construct the landfill site. The company intends to transport tonnes of soil, stones, and inert construction material to a plot located three-quarters of a mile from residential properties.

According to documents, the plan would result in 40-tonne HGV lorries navigating the estate’s narrow roads ‘every 7.5 minutes’. The land earmarked for waste disposal was previously exploited as an illegal dumping ground. Local residents stress their opposition isn’t rooted in ‘nimbyism’, but they harbour concerns about increased traffic and the potential for the site to be used for nuclear waste disposal in the future – a suggestion refuted by the council, reports Devon Live[1].

Mr Collins, who featured on the BBC programme from 2003 to 2010, branded the application as ‘absurd’. He remarked: “I looked at the route and it’s quite clearly a death trap. When there’s an alternative to use a trunk road and build an extra junction, it would save time and money for the project which is understandable as you’ve got to get the soil somewhere, but you wouldn’t drive it through a tiny lane in a residential area near a kid’s playground. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

“Hopefully, there will be some sense seen at Devon County Council, which will dismiss this, but the fact it’s come back again is distressing for people that live here. Ploughing HGVs through a tiny road through village communities through a high concentration of schools, it just doesn’t make any sense.”

He suggested that it might be more sensible and cost-effective to create a new waste junction off the A361 and utilise the existing trunk road.

“Once it’s established here, it will be a never-ending train of trucks, and there simply isn’t room; there’s already plenty of camera footage here from the residents of Braid Park showing where these trucks would go, and they can’t fit past one another.”

“You can see the structure of this road is designed for low-speed, light traffic, and a lot of people here are riding bicycles. You see lots of kids playing, learning to walk or ride bikes for the first time, and it is that narrow it doesn’t have a white line running up the centre.”

“People who have watched HGVs trying to get through here, they can’t do it on the road they just ride straight onto the pavement where kids are walking or playing and there will be fatalities, and if it comes to it, I’ll lie down in the road if I have to, until they see sense.”

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He further stated: “Tiverton has a great history, it’s a market town, it’s growing, and this is also a conservation area near the canal with small and weak historic bridges and a vibrant community which shouldn’t be thrashed and trashed and treated like a motorway. Hopefully, common sense will prevail, but in the meantime, it’s going to be really distressing for the locals to try and oppose this when they shouldn’t really have to.”

A representative for Decharge Ltd countered: “With the small number of vehicles utilising the lane leading to Uplowman Road, the frequency of vehicles travelling in opposing directions due to the proposed scheme is likely to be low.”

“With the majority of these interactions assumed to be those of HGVs hauling material to the fill area, it is proposed that the site operator will utilise vehicles equipped with CB radios to enable drivers to radio ahead to make sure the road ahead is clear.”

A spokesperson for Devon County Council added: “The site, if approved, will be for inert waste only (soils and stones). It will definitely not be for nuclear waste. It will be determined by DCC development management committee at some point in the future, but no date is yet confirmed.”


  1. ^ Devon Live (
  2. ^ Driver denies causing fatal A30 crash (
  3. ^ Plush hotel plans for farm near Bath (