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Flytipping in New Forest up by a quarter in seven years but figures 'just the tip of the iceberg'

Flytipping at Yew Tree in September last year (picture: Forestry England)
Flytipping at Yew Tree in September last year (picture: Forestry England)

FLYTIPPING in the New Forest has increased by nearly 25% since 2012, new figures from Defra reveal.

There were 923 incidents on public land in the district in 2019/20, compared with 742 in 2012/13.

But the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) said the data does not “fully reflect the severity of the situation” because it failed to take into account dumping on private land.

A spokesperson for the CLA, which represents around 28,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, said the figures were alarming but “just the tip of the iceberg”.

Hampshire County Council is urging the public to continue reporting flytipping and ensure they use a licensed company to take away their waste.

Cllr Rob Humby, cabinet member for environment, said: “Flytipping is clearly a lucrative source of income for organised criminal gangs, and we must be clear that this is what we’re talking about – criminal activity.

“In fact, the rise in tonnages of flytipped waste we see in these recent figures can be directly linked to a single organised crime gang operating in the south east which dumped 30 tonnes of shredded waste at three sites in Hampshire.”

As part of HCC’s ongoing campaign to tackle these offences, the council said it was working with partner authorities to increase prosecutions.

Since 2018, 100 people across the county have been prosecuted and 116 fixed penalty notices issued.

Cllr Humby continued: “In order to bring about successful prosecutions, our district and borough colleagues need evidence, such as witness statements and photos.

“It’s really important that residents report flytipped waste if they see it, but if people see criminals in the act of flytipping, I must be clear that they should not approach them and put themselves in danger. Instead, call the police.”

Ann Maidment, CLA’s director for the south-west, said the association’s members were having to pay tens of thousands of pounds each year to have rubbish cleared.

She continued: “Cases of flytipping on privately owned land are significantly more than on public land, so these government figures do not reflect the true scale of this type of organised crime, which blights our rural communities.

“Part of the problem is that it’s currently too simple to gain a waste carrying licence that enables firms to transport and dispose of waste – and this needs urgent reform with correct checks put in place.”

Ms Maidment said that while those prosecuted could potentially face a £50,000 or 12-month prison term, this was “seldom enforced”.

HCC said it had opened up its household waste recycling centres to local businesses as a “convenient and cost-effective” alternative to commercial waste transfer stations.

For more information about HCC’s flytipping campaign, visit www.hants.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling/flytipping/report-fly-tipping

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