England

Fly-tipping clean-up 'costs Woodland Trust charity £1m'

Cannabis waste Image copyright Woodland Trust
Image caption Removing illegally dumped waste at Smithills Estate in Bolton cost £11,000

A charity says it has spent more than £1m clearing up thousands of fly-tipping incidents from UK woodlands over the past five years.

The Woodland Trust said the cost of removing illegally dumped mess on land it owns and takes care of was £200,000 last year. It spent £14,000 alone on its land in Livingston, Scotland.

Smithills Estate in Bolton was another blackspot, costing £11,000 to clean.

The charity said "green-tipping" of commercial garden waste was a problem.

A spokesman said, contrary to what some people believe, it could harm the natural balance of woodland habitat.

'An eyesore'

The trust said there were 1,290 separate fly-tipping and littering incidents in 2018.

Cannabis paraphernalia was amongst the rubbish dumped at the Smithills Estate in April two months prior to a moorland fire on the estate which ripped through 7 sq miles (18 sq km) of land.

Darren Moorcroft, of the Woodland Trust, said: "Reaching over £1m spent... 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."

He said: "Whilst not condoning people's behaviour... one contributing fact could be the closure of council refuse sites and extra charges placed on the likes of green bins."

He added that illegal tipping cases in Woodland Trust woods were generally isolated and they remain beautiful places to visit.

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