Woodland Trust: Huge increase in litter and fly-tipping

Dering Wood, KentImage copyright The Woodland Trust
Image caption Campers have been lighting fires and leaving the mess behind in Dering Wood

The level of litter and fly-tipping in woodlands during lockdown is harming the countryside and putting nature at risk, a charity has warned.

The Woodland Trust’s 1,000 UK sites stayed open throughout the pandemic.

Norman Starks, a director at the charity, said while it is “great that people are getting outside… we have seen a huge increase in mess”.

Areas of Kent, North Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and Bolton have seen some of the worst examples.

Image copyright The Woodland Trust
Image caption People have been dumping rubbish in woodlands across the

According to the trust plastics and metals, which do not decompose, can change the soil composition.

Animals can suffocate in, or be trapped by, discarded plastic or injured by broken glass.

At Dering Wood, near Pluckley in Kent, people have chopped down and damaged trees, set up camps and dropped litter and drug waste, as well as digging fire pits.

Image copyright The Woodland Trust
Image caption Fly-tipping in Ashenbank, Kent

At Ashenbank in Gravesend, people have been removing the protected great crested newts to take back to their ponds at home, the trust said.

Skipton Castle Woods in North Yorkshire, Barber Wood, near Cheltenham and Smithills, near Bolton have seen similar anti-social behaviour.

Image copyright The Woodland Trust
Image caption A large fire was lit in Dering Wood

The cost of clearing up the damage for the year is projected to be about £134,000.

Mr Starks added: “These are very delicate habitats; in some cases they are hundreds of years old. We need the public to join us in helping to continue to protect these environments.”

Image copyright The Woodland Trust
Image caption Drug paraphernalia, and litter were left in Dering Wood and car park

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