Top Gear’s The Stig out to put brakes on Devon landfill site

Top Gear[1]'s former test driver The Stig [2]has joined a battle to stop a landfill site in Devon from being created that could could affect children playing and cyclists. Ben Collins[3], who previously set lap times for cars tested on the hit TV show, is a user of the road through Enterprise Avenue in Tiverton [4]which locals fear will be overrun by lorries if the plan goes ahead. Waste disposal company Decharge Ltd has applied to the council for permission to build the site.

The company wants to transport tons of soil, stones and inert construction material to a plot three-quarters of a mile from homes. The land proposed for waste disposal was previously used as an illegal dumping area. Residents have expressed concerns about traffic and fear the plot could be used to dispose of nuclear waste in the future, which the council has denied.

Mr Collins, who appeared on the BBC show from 2003 until 2010, said the application was "absurd". He said: "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."

Ben Collins when his identity was kept secret as The StigBen Collins when his identity was kept secret as The StigCredit: Andrew Matthews/PA

He explained that it could be more cost-effective and time-efficient to create a new waste junction off the A361 and use the current 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 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."

Market town and conservation area

He added: "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."

Decharge Ltd said: "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." 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. ^ Top Gear (
  2. ^ The Stig (
  3. ^ Ben Collins (
  4. ^ Tiverton (