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West Cumbrian woods among worst in country for littering

Litter louts have been fly tipping at a west Cumbrian beauty spot, forcing a charity to pay £150 a month to have it cleared.

Arrowthwaite Woods photo
Arrowthwaite Woods

Everything from deadly asbestos to electrical goods have been dumped at Arrowthwaite Woods, near Whitehaven, and nearly 100 bags of rubbish cleared since last summer.

Copeland councillor for the Kells area, Alan Holliday, wants tougher punishments for those responsible after rubbish including a car seat, a plastic chair, two mountain bikes, a vacuum cleaner, a space hopper, carpet, a drill, a vacuum cleaner, a door, a pram, four buckets, a BBQ, a compost bin, a car tyre, a bread crate and eight musical drums were ditched.

Mr Holliday said: “I don’t like fly tipping in woodlands areas and most of the stuff the council would take away free of charge”, he said.

“I am wondering why people would choose to drag stuff into the middle of the woods. I think people should be prosecuted. It ruins the countryside and there’s no need for it.”

The Woodland Trust pays £150 a month to have the site cleaned, with more difficult items costing even more to be removed. The woods have been judged one of the worst in the country for littering.

In total, the trust has been faced with the clear-up of 97 bags of rubbish and an array of large items since last summer.

Site manager Heather Swift says that this diverts funds away from the trust, which is run as a charity.

She said: “We rely on donations and grants and if we continue spending money on this then that’s money we are not able to spend on other things.

“Some of it’s a bit casual and just people being thoughtless but other things have clearly been dumped.

“I think it can be disconcerting for people with children and dogs and they can be concerned that they will get injured.”

Nationally, clearing up fly tipping and littering in woodlands has cost the leading conservation charity more than half a million pounds in the past four years. Illegal fly tipping cost the charity £90,000 in clean-up costs in the past four years, while picking up litter at its 1,200 woods across the UK cost more than £430,000.

The charity is urging the public to mark the International Day of Forests by carrying out a positive act to support woodlands, including visiting a local wood, pledging to plant a tree, joining a volunteer group or simply picking up litter.

The trust is also calling for stronger deterrents for fly tipping. It has recorded dozens of incidents of fly tipping across its estate, with discarded rubbish including everything from pornography to fitted kitchens, mattresses and animal carcasses.

Norman Starks, Woodland Trust UK operations director, said: “It is costing us tens of thousands of pounds which could be spent on caring for woods.”

Have your say

Fly tipping is both lazy and illegal. There is no excuse or reason for it at all. Anyone who thinks its acceptable needs educated on the subject. Green space is important and will only become more so as we use up more and more of it.

Posted by Matt Lowry Carlisle on 26 March 2014 at 09:26

I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who has contributed to the comments here with support and suggestions to stop this litter and fly tipping. It's all very useful and especially to know that there are so many people who care about their environment and can help us to put pressure on those who don't! We at the Woodland Trust will continue to care for the woods, and this all helps very much. Thanks, Heather (Woodland Trust)

Posted by Heather Swift on 24 March 2014 at 12:33

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