Over 300 tonnes of illegally dumped commercial waste in Staffordshire countryside is being cleared.
The waste, which included shredded paper and bandages, was dumped in Gladings Wood, Madeley Heath, west of Newcastle under Lyme, on January 29. It has blocked a car park and the right of way into the wood. The offenders broke open a gate to access the land. Police and the Environment Agency are investigating the incident.
The clear-up operation is being coordinated by Staffordshire County Council and supported by Newcastle Borough Council and the Forestry Commission, which owns the land. It is hoped the path will be reopened by Easter. Before the clear-up began, waste was sampled to check that it is not hazardous.
Staffordshire County Council’s head of waste management Clive Thomson said:
The scale of this illicit dumping is shocking so we’re pleased to get the clear-up under way. The waste was not hazardous but there are over 300 tonnes and so this is an extensive operation. We’re hoping the clear-up won’t take as long as first thought and that this woodland will soon be cleared. We can assure people that we will be looking to prosecute and press for severe penalties and reclaim costs.”
Alan Dowell, Forester at the Forestry Commission said:
We were shocked and appalled by this horrendous flytipping so we’re pleased to be supporting the joint clean-up operation. Sadly people cannot enjoy a visit to the wood until it is cleared away and this selfish act will have significant clean-up costs.”
A Staffordshire-wide group including councils, the fire and rescue service and the Environment Agency is working to tackle commercial waste dumping. Businesses can find out more about commercial waste legislation at www.rightwasterightplace.com