Apr 11 2019

Fly tipping: the true cost of this irresponsible behaviour

More than £1 million in five years spent on clearing up mess from woods

The cost of clearing up fly-tipping and littering from the UK’s woods has soared to over £1 million over the last five years, new figures have revealed.

The cost of clearing up illegal waste dumping detracts from the Trust’s real aims. (Photo: WTML)

Building rubble is a common sight. (Photo: WTML)

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. In that year we spent over £34,000 dealing with fly-tipping and litter at our sites in Wales. There are over 100 of them. The highest was Dyffryn Woods in Neath, at £3,905. I think the next highest was Plas Power Woods near Wrexham, at £3,777.

Dyffryn Woods in Neath (photo: WTML)

Plas Power Woods near Wrexham, (photo: WTML)


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.”

You can see the tv coverage of this issue in South Wales here.

“Green” waste

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.

What can you do?

If people see large scale illegal dumping they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

As our volunteers you form a valuable network of eyes on our woods across Wales. Let us know if you spot any unsightly or dangerous fly-tipping so we can clear it up and also tackle to root of the issue.

Email us on: wales@woodlandtrust.org.uk

Call us on: 029200027732

Write to us at: The Woodland Trust Wales, Castle Court, 6 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF11 9LJ

  • David Hare

    Where this tipping occurs would volunteers be allowed to secrete cameras to get evidence to prosecute these people legally

    April 21, 2019 at 1:22 am

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