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Woodland beauty spots blighted by fly-tipping

PUBLISHED: 18:30 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:22 07 June 2018

Rubbish have been dumped over the past couple of weeks in Thetford Forest between Weeting and Feltwell. Picture: Helen Shepherd

Rubbish have been dumped over the past couple of weeks in Thetford Forest between Weeting and Feltwell. Picture: Helen Shepherd

But despite the idyllic nature of our forests and woodlands, they are being blighted by fly-tipping.

Household items which have been dumped close to Thetford Rugby Club which is in Thetford Forest., in 2017. Picture: Jerry StoneHousehold items which have been dumped close to Thetford Rugby Club which is in Thetford Forest., in 2017. Picture: Jerry Stone

The Forestry Commission (FC) has said it is expecting an increase in the amount of rubbish which will be fly-tipped across their sites in the region.

It costs £100,000 a year to deal with fly-tipping incidents - mainly at the 18,730 hectares Thetford Forest - money which should be used in forest management.

Roger Woods, FC’s communications manager for the East, has said there has been an increase in incidences of fly-tips since charges for DIY waste were introduced by Norfolk County Council.

In April, charges were introduced on items including rubble, timber and plasterboard if taken to one of the authority’s 20 tips.

Rubbish have been dumped over the past couple of weeks in Thetford Forest between Weeting and Feltwell. Picture: Helen ShepherdRubbish have been dumped over the past couple of weeks in Thetford Forest between Weeting and Feltwell. Picture: Helen Shepherd

“I think there’s a misunderstanding about what folk can and can’t dispose of, and what they get charged for, hence we’re getting furniture, white goods and large quantities of commercial DIY waste dumped across the estate.

“This is in addition to general household and small DIY project that periodically gets discarded on forest rides.

“The cost to clear up fly-tip is circa £100,000 per year, and we’re expecting to increase this year with the volume of rubbish our teams are finding and clearing up.”

Many people who visit Thetford Forest have expressed their disgust and anger at finding dumped rubbish.

Paint tins discarded  close to fire route four in Thetford Forest. Picture: Michael AnnearPaint tins discarded close to fire route four in Thetford Forest. Picture: Michael Annear

Fly-tipped items tend to be dumped along the forest’s many fire routes.

The FC has had successful prosecutions for those who have dumped items, but Mr Woods said the financial penalty does not cover the cost of handling the waste.

He added: “Dumping waste can cause harm to wildlife and the flora and fauna of the forest estate at Thetford Forest which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.”

Charges are only in place for DIY waste. County council recycling centres will still take household waste for free.

Items dumped close to Thetford Rugby Club which is in Thetford Forest in 2017. Picture: Jerry StoneItems dumped close to Thetford Rugby Club which is in Thetford Forest in 2017. Picture: Jerry Stone

A guide to what is classed as DIY waste and charges can be found on the Norfolk County Council website.

Fly-tipping in Breckland

Fly-tipping on the Barnham Cross estate in Thetford. Picture: Terry JermyFly-tipping on the Barnham Cross estate in Thetford. Picture: Terry Jermy

Fly-tipping across the Breckland district cost tax players £46,221 between April 2017 and March 2018.

More than 804 cases were reported during that time. In April, there were 156 incidents of fly-tipping across the district - 52 more than the previous April.

Breckland councillor Terry Jermy has criticised the authority for not securing a single prosecution during the 12 month period and said enforcement is an important deterrent.

A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: “We are committed to tackling fly-tipping and our enforcement officer has successfully resolved a number of cases over the last year, largely as a result of positive engagement with local people and through an education campaign at fly-tipping sites. We do seek prosecutions where possible, but take each incident on a case by case basis and consider whether to proceed based on the strength of the evidence available.”

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