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Cost of fly-tipping taking away vital resource from our forests

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Fly-tipping in Exeter

The Forestry Commission is urging local people to be vigilant in reporting any incidents of fly-tipping that they witness in Exeter’s forests. 

Over recent months Forestry Commission staff have had to deal with a range of fly-tip, at both Stoke Woods and Haldon Forest including; builders rubble, discarded tarmac, asbestos sheeting, bags full of domestic waste and garden waste, hospital waste, tyres, bags of human excrement, furniture and white goods.

Area Forester Allan Smart explains:

“The public forest estate is here for the public to use and enjoy but sadly, some people are abusing this by dumping their rubbish in our forests.  50% of fly tipping requires specialist moving and disposal, which is why it gets dumped, but this means that significant amounts of our budgets are swallowed up dealing with the problem, rather than on maintaining our forests, which is what it should be used for. 

“We are looking to our neighbours and regular visitors to help us combat this problem by reporting any incidents that they witness, giving as much detail as possible including the date and time of the incident as well as vehicle registration numbers if possible.  If we are able to arm the Environment Agency with this information it makes it more likely that they can prosecute offenders. My team and I want to spend our time keeping Exeter’s forests in the best condition possible for our visitors, not clearing up after this selfish minority.  Anyone that sees anyone fly tipping should call us immediately on 01392 832262 to report the incident.”

Mike Dunning from the Environment Agency says:

“Flytipping is anti-social and totally unacceptable.  People have no excuse for dumping waste in our beautiful Devon countryside when suitable disposal facilities are available; often only a few miles away from where they tip their waste and rubbish. Fly-tipping is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and offenders risk fines of up to £50,000. The Environment Agency will not hesitate to prosecute offenders where it has evidence. It fully supports the Forestry Commission in its efforts to combat fly-tipping in Exeter's forests. The public has an important role to play by reporting any illegal tipping they see during visits to Forestry Commission sites.”

Cllr Gordon Hook, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Spokesperson for Environmental Services adds: 

“Agencies like the Forestry Commission and Teignbridge Council work very hard to provide a clean, green and safe environment for residents and visitors, which makes fly-tipping and other environmental crime all the more frustrating.

“We are extremely lucky to have such diverse and beautiful countryside on our doorsteps, and what a pity that some people take it upon themselves to spoil parts of it with selfish, thoughtless acts like this.  We’d urge everyone to do their bit and report fly tipping so that it can be properly investigated and cleared up.  We operate a freephone number for reporting environmental crime and welcome calls on 0800 328 6402.

“We know it can be tempting to accept offers of help when disposing of bulky items, but please remember you remain legally responsible for their disposal.  Any disposal service requires a licence from the Environment Agency, so your ‘man and van’ may leave you with a much higher bill than you think – and a potential prosecution to boot.  We offer a low price bulky waste collection service in Teignbridge, and for more details you can log on to or call 01626 215838.

“We must be clear that we will not hesitate to prosecute those caught fly-tipping, which can be punished in court with fines of up to £50,000 and/or 12 months in prison.”


The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

For further information please contact Kirstie Smith, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission on 01392 834249.