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The City of London Corporation is calling on individuals to dispose of their waste in a safe and sustainable manner as recycling centres prepare to reopen. Illegal fly tipping at Epping Forest has sharply increased, by over 50%, during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Between January and...

The City of London Corporation is calling on individuals to dispose of their waste in a safe and sustainable manner as recycling centres prepare to reopen.

Illegal fly tipping at Epping Forest has sharply increased, by over 50%, during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Between January and April this year there was a total of 192 fly tips on Epping Forest land. Over the same period in 2019 there were 126, which means there has been an increase of 52.3%.

The data shows that the prime spots where most rubbish is abandoned is roadside. The highest increase in types of fly tips has been in furniture, general household items and garden waste.

Following official guidance on Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions in place, many local recycling centres across the country have been closed since March 23. The government has now said tips will reopen gradually, with social distancing and protective equipment for waste workers in place.

In the last six years, 73 people have been ordered to collectively pay out £32,689.03 for fly tipping in Epping Forest, after legal action by the City Corporation.

The growing cost of removing fly-tips and litter has forced the City Corporation to divert £320,000 each year away from managing the Forest for public recreation and wildlife conservation to simply disposing of waste.

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Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest committee, said: “We very much welcome the Government’s recent reassurance that tips will reopen in the coming weeks, which will hopefully significantly reduce the spike in fly-tipping that we are unfortunately experiencing at Epping Forest.

“Fly tipping is extremely bad for the environment and public health. It is also a waste of funds and time that could be better used to support Epping Forest, particularly at present when resources are stretched due to the lockdown measures.

“We understand it is a very difficult time right now, but this is no excuse for illegal fly tipping. We will certainly not hesitate to prosecute and urge the public to continue to report suspicious activity by fly tippers.”

Last year the governing body for the Square Mile, working with the Metropolitan Police Service and Essex Police, crushed a vehicle involved in the illegal fly tipping of three tonnes of waste in Epping Forest, using new powers under the City of London Corporation (Open Spaces) Act 2018 for the first time.

The transit van was found to be implicated in a series of identical fly tips several months and was seized to prevent it being used for further criminal activity.

Reports of fly tipping should be made to the 24-hour emergency line on 020 8532 1010.

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