City Corporation warns against fly tipping at Epping Forest during COVID-19 lockdown


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.

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 our 24-hour emergency line – 020 8532 1010.

The City Corporation protects and conserves 18 important green spaces in London and south east England – including Hampstead Heath and Burnham Beeches - and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile.

They include important wildlife habitats, sites of scientific interest and national nature reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.

The City of London Corporation funds green spaces across London. Its green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve. They are funded by over £29million a year from the City Corporation, together with donations, sponsorship, grants and income generated on site.


Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.