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 1,290 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: “This money could have helped us plant many trees or protect woods that are in desperate need of help.
“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.”
As in previous years, ‘green tipping’ has been an issue in the woods of Livingston in Scotland which has been plagued by a deluge of commercial garden waste such as grass clippings, hedge trimmings, weeds and leaves. Although many would think this is harmless, the additional nutrients carried by these plants throws delicate UK flora into a state of unbalance as plants become smothered and non-native species (such as rhododendron) colonise the area.
If people see large scale illegal dumping they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.