A Grantham-based charity was faced with a bill of almost £3,000 last year after clearing up a local beaty spot.
The Woodland Trust’s bill for clearing up the mess in Londonthorpe Wood was £2,897 and it faces paying this kind of sum every year because of unscrupulous people dumping their waste there.
The mess has included litter, wooden pallets and hazardous waste, including empty tubs of alloy wheel cleaner.
Woodland Trust site manager Ian Froggatt said: “Londonthorpe is such a beautiful place for people to visit on the doorstep of Grantham and most people are responsible and take their litter with them, however we are still spending around £100 a month cleaning up the mess – money which could be spent elsewhere.
“Although we generally get just three or four incidents of fly-tipping a year, if it’s something nasty such as chemicals or asbestos, it can cost £1,200 in one hit to clear.”
The charity’s general bill for clearing up waste across its woods hit new levels of almost £200,000, up by more than £70,000 over the past five years.
In 2017, across its UK woods, the charity spent £56,523 clearing away fly-tipping alone, up by more than £13,000 from 2016.
Since 2014, the total cost of clearance - including routine litter picking and fly-tipping - has risen to over £950,000.
There have been 926 individual tipping incidents recorded in the UK this year – 670 of these in English woods.
Darren Moorcroft, director of estate and woodland outreach, described the figures as ‘worrying’:
He said: “In a world where we need our efforts and money to focus on the growing threats to our woods such as disease, pests and development, it is a shame we have to deal with the actions of mindless individuals.
“Each year we are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds clearing up other people’s waste, which could otherwise go towards creating new woods or protecting ancient woodland.
“The rubbish creates an eyesore and affects people’s overall visitor experience. Overall we need people to understand and remember that it has numerous implications for our woods and wildlife. We all need to care for our natural environment, or risk ruining it forever.
“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. We would also call on the public to be vigilant wherever they can if they spot anything suspicious contact us. Whilst if people see large scale illegal dumping they can call Crimestoppers on 0800555111.”
He added: “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.”