“It’s a desecration of our forest”: £100,000 toll of Thetford Forest flytipping revealed

Friends of Thetford Forest have been looking after the commercial, conservation and public sides of

Friends of Thetford Forest have been looking after the commercial, conservation and public sides of the forest for 20 years. The forest is not only a place for leisure. it's also used for logging and important conservation work. Pictured is High Lodge. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

It's one of our region's natural gems - a beauty spot where thousands come each year for relaxation, adventure and exploration.

Loft insulation dumped at a Thetford Forest site near Croxton.

Loft insulation dumped at a Thetford Forest site near Croxton. - Credit: Archant

But while the lowland pines of Thetford Forest provide an idyllic getaway, its secluded environs have also become a haven for flytippers.

And the Forestry Commission has revealed that the blight has become such a problem it is costing £100,000 a year to tackle.

Roger Woods, the body's communications manager, said clean up costs for the dumping of industrial waste - a frequent occurrence on the 47,000 acre site - can cost £2,500 a time.

That cost can rise to £10,000 if asbestos is involved.

'We have so much of it happening now and we go to lengths to stop it,' he said.

'Often people have given someone this waste in good faith, expecting them to get rid of it ethically.

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'But sometimes they want to avoid costs, so dump it here.

'We will prosecute if we catch people and we've had some significant prosecutions in the last few years.'

Two incidents over last weekend saw a van load of loft insulation dumped near Croxton, while two large lorry loads of plaster board were tipped at Lynford Stag.

Mr Woods said the Croxton incident also saw a hidden surveillance camera stolen from the site - placed there as the area is known for flytipping.

Anne Mason, chair of the Friends of Thetford Forest group, said her volunteers would regularly search the woods for litter and flytipped items.

She described the dumping as 'a desecration of our forest'.

'We are appalled as most people would not litter anywhere.

'It's outrageous and heartbreaking that people are so insensitive to the forest's beauty, and there's also an impact on wildlife.

'The money that is being spent by the Forestry Commission to fix the problem is being taken away from other projects which could have great benefit,' she said.

What do you think? Email andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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