Woodland Trust spent £20,000 clearing up fly-tipping from its woods in the East of England last year
- Credit: Archant
Charity spent more than £600 in Suffolk and £200,000 UK-wide
A charity says it was forced to spend almost £20,000 clearing up fly-tipping and litter from woodlands in the East of England last year.
Nationally, the Woodland Trust said the annual bill for clearing up the illegally dumped mess on land it owns and takes care of was £200,000 in 2018 - and over the last five years clean-ups have totalled £1.1 million.
In the East of England, the Trust spent £19,278 cleaning up 14 woods in 2018, including three woods in Suffolk where fly-tipping incidents took place.
Rubbish was illegally dumped at Suffolk locations: Armstrong’s Wood near Tostock, Northfield Wood near Onehouse, and Pound Farm, Great Glemham - costing a total of £612 to remove.
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The charity said across the country woodlands are being used for hundreds of incidents of tipping and littering, with waste found ranging from fridge freezers and mattresses to carpeting, the remains of a garden wall and oil drums.
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In some of the more bizarre incidents, the trust found a bath and even a shrine with a sheep’s head.
In 2018 there were 1,290 separate fly-tipping and littering incidents, 998 of which occurred in English woodlands, the charity said.
The worst region in England was the north, where the trust had to undertake 576 clean-ups of illegal waste, at a cost of more than £63,900.
Livingston in Scotland had the biggest bill for clearing rubbish, with costs of £14,000 in 2018.
As in previous years, a big problem is “green-tipping”, with commercial garden waste dumped in woods.
The Woodland Trust warned that while people might think dumping green waste was harmless, the additional nutrients carried by discarded plant material can harm the natural balance of woodland habitat.
Other blackspots last year were Smithills Estate in Bolton where more than £11,000 was spent on clearing up mostly fly-tipping, while just over £8,000 was spent at Hainault, London and almost £6,000 at Windmill Hill, near Runcorn, Cheshire.
Darren Moorcroft, director of estate and woodland outreach, suggested a squeeze on council spending on refuse sites and charges for picking up some kinds of household rubbish could be a factor in fly-tipping.
He said: “Reaching over £1 million spent in the last five years on clearing up mess in our woods is clearly not a milestone to celebrate.
“This money could have helped us plant many trees or protect woods that are in desperate need of help.