Fly-tipping is a “significant” problem in Thetford Forest
- Credit: Jerry Stone
It is one of the most beautiful areas of the country and a haven for wildlife and plants.
But those responsible for looking after Thetford Forest have revealed it suffers from a 'significant' amount of fly-tipped rubbish every year equating to 'tonnes and tonnes'.
The Forestry Commission spends between £80,000 to £100,000 each year on fly-tipping across its sites in Norfolk, the majority of which is spent at Thetford Forest.
This includes the man hours, collecting the waste, bringing it to the centre to sort through and then depositing it.
Roger Woods, communications officer for the Forestry Commission in the East of England, said it frustrates everyone involved with the forest.
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'If the money wasn't being used for the collection of rubbish, it would be used in forest management and tending to the trees,' he said. 'It would be used for our day-to-day routine.
'There is a frustration that people are not being responsible for their rubbish. There are enough recycling centres in the district.'
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Most of the forest has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest with flora unique to this part of the world.
The Forestry Commission has said it will do everything in its power to prosecute anyone who it finds fly-tipping.
A serial fly-tipper who dumped rubbish bags within Santon Downham was recently given a £200 fine. However, the Forestry Commission admits it is hard to catch people in the act.
Mr Woods added: 'We will do as much as we possibly can to find out who owns the dumped rubbish, even if we have to open and search through the rubbish bags.'
Concerned Thetford resident Jerry Stone has said he is so annoyed by the fly-tipping, he has taken it upon himself to help clear up the rubbish - even buying his own litter picker.
Large amounts of household waste, and even a smashed up parking meter, have been dumped on a fire track in the forest close to Thetford Rugby Club.
Mr Stone, who only moved the area in January, said: 'It is terrible and appalling and terrible for wildlife. It is such a shame because the forest is beautiful. If every one picked up a few bits of rubbish then that would be good.'
Is your area affected by fly-tipping? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fly-tipping in the Breckland district
Fly-tipping is not only a problem at Thetford Forest but across the whole of the Breckland district.
Breckland Council is responsible for removing fly-tipped rubbish from council-owned land and from land maintained at the public expense, including highways, roads and footpaths.
From 2015 to 2016 the council dealt with 1,255 cases of fly-tipping at a cost of £73.031.
These figures are down from the previous two years - 1,426 cases in 2014/15 and 1,614 cases in 2013/14.
However the figures only represent fly-tips collected from council-owned land and therefore it does not mean there has been a reduction in fly tipping overall.
The council said fly-tipping is a problem for the authority because it takes up resources which could be better used elsewhere such as providing services to residents.
Residents can report fly-tipping to www.breckland.gov.uk/article/3090/Report-a-Flytip