FLY-TIPPERS struck three times within 24 hours to dump piles of waste at New Forest beauty spots.
Rubbish including soil, old furniture and even the remains of a fibreglass boat was found in three locations in the north of the district by rangers from the National Trust, which owns swathes of land in the area.
One of the loads was left at the car park at Rockford Common, where rubbish was also deposited by illegal campers.
Two more hauls of furniture were reported dumped in locations in Bramshaw including Penn Common.
National Trust community ranger Jen Sutton said clearing up the rubbish was a drain on the charity’s resources and a waste of time for staff meant to be looking after the environment.
She revealed two further fly-tips had occurred recently, also in Bramshaw, where a burned out caravan and the remains of a shed, including broken glass, had been left in the last two weeks.
The clear-up cost to the charity amounted to about £1,000, she said, and had diverted four workers away from their main jobs.
Ms Sutton said: “This recent incident just shows the lack of respect some people have of the New Forest and our special places.
“It is such a shame that our time is often spent like this, taking us away from vital conservation work. The New Forest is an internationally protected site of special scientific interest, so this increase in fly-tipping is incredibly disheartening.
“We collected a large amount of glass which can cause great harm to the feet of grazing ponies and to dogs, and plastics and grass clippings can make livestock and wildlife very ill if swallowed.”
As well as its famous ponies, the New Forest is home to nightjars, smooth snakes, silver studded blue butterflies and the internationally rare small fleabane.
Ms Sutton urged residents to help tackle fly-tipping by reporting any incidents and ensuring they check the licence of any waste disposal companies they use.
Physical solutions could include installing extra barriers, ditches and dragons’ teeth – which would cost thousands of pounds.
As reported in the A&T, in October 2016 Hampshire County Council introduced fees for discarding certain types of domestic DIY waste including soil, rubble and plasterboard at household waste recycling centres, such as at Efford in Lymington; Marchwood; and Somerley, near Ringwood.
There were fears the extra costs could discourage lawful disposal and increase cases of fly-tipping.
However, the combined numbers of fly-tipping incidents recorded in the New Forest by the district council and Forestry England have fallen 13% in the last three years – from 1,332 occurrences in 2016/17 to 1,162 in 2018/19.
Measures by Forestry England to combat the problem include new gates and barriers at car parks, where visibility has been improved at entrances and CCTV installed at the worst-affected spots.
A New Forest Litter Working Group has also been set up, including NFDC and the national park authority, to raise awareness and coordinate action.
A Forestry England spokesperson said: “Any evidence collected at the scene of an incident is passed to the district council, who carry out investigations, which is a good example of our joint working.
“The number of prosecutions where fly-tipped waste has been traced back to residents and local businesses is on the rise. Working in partnership with the New Forest District Council, we’ve acted swiftly to trace rubbish back and find those responsible.”
Cases of fly-tipping on National Trust land can be reported to its New Forest office on 01425 650035 or to Hampshire Police via 101.