Rising landfill charges have been blamed for a 51 per cent increase in fly-tipping on picturesque forest land in the past six months, it has been claimed.
Tyres, chemicals, oils and hazardous substances have all been dumped around Epping Forest in Essex to avoid the spiralling costs of private rubbish disposal.
The startling claims have appeared in a report from the Corporation of London, which owns and maintains the forest, stating that many businesses and members of the public are resorting to fly-tipping in secluded areas and car parks to save money.
Despite a scheme offering a £500 reward to anyone who tips off the authorities about the problem, only one person has been successfully prosecuted in the last six months.
Keith French, the corporation’s forest services manager, said the problem was causing serious damage to the forest’s environment.
He said: “Chemicals, oils and hazardous substances can leak to the water and soil which can kill the habitat in the area that was fly-tipped and will take a very long time to regenerate.
“Previously, fly-tippers have also set fire to tyres and other waste releasing toxic fumes and ashes which have a detrimental effect on plant life in the area as well as insects and animals.”
A spokeswoman for the Corporation said: “Householders are responsible for their own rubbish. Community support is crucial to stamp out this damaging practice and we are hoping for more local authority partners to come on board.
“The rise in fly-tipping activity in the Forest appears to be related to the substantial cost increased imposed by the Landfill Tax Escalator and the recession is also a key driver.”
Anyone who sees any fly-tipping is urged to call Epping Forest Keepers on 020 8532 1010.
Denna Bowman, Head Office