One of the worst woods in England for fly tipping is the Smithills Estate in Bolton according to figures from the Woodland Trust.

Over £11,000 was spent on tidying up the woods which was mostly down to fly-tipping. 

The Woodland Trust’s bill for clearing up the mess across its woods in 2018 was £200,000, an annual cost which has risen by £70,000 over the past five years.

Since 2014, the total cost of clearance –including routine litter picking and fly-tipping – has risen to £1.1 million.

In 2018, there were 1290 individual tipping and littering incidents recorded in the UK – 998 of these in English woods.

Darren Moorcroft, director of estate and woodland outreach, described the figures as “worrying”and said a squeeze on council spending on refuse sites could be a contributory factor.

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.

“The rubbish also creates an eyesore which affects people’s overall visitor experience.

“Fly-tipping is an illegal activity. Whilst it is a costly affair for us to take offenders through a legal process, we do hold that right and have prosecuted in the past which can lead to substantial fines. 

“Although not condoning people’s behaviour in dumping this mess, one contributing fact could be the closure of council refuse sites and extra charges placed on the likes of green bins, certainly when it comes to garden waste mess such as grass clippings.”

He added, however: “Whilst fly-tipping is a considerable issue, thankfully incidents are generally isolated to certain areas of our woods and they remain really beautiful places to visit.”

Elsewhere, just over £8,000 was spent clearing up Hainault in London and almost £6,000 at Windmill Hill near Runcorn in Cheshire.


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