A COMMUNITY ranger has spoken of the damage to a “vitally important” site in the New Forest and the cost of fly-tipping.

In August, a large fly-tip was found in an isolated area of Rockford Common, which is owned and looked after by the National Trust as well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest. National Trust community ranger Jennifer Sutton said: “The common is a vitally important site for breeding birds, rare wildlife and for grazing livestock. Without these elements the New Forest wouldn’t be the special and rare place that we enjoy today. This area is also close to wetland and bogs of international importance.”

“We collected a large amount of plastics and foam which can make livestock and wildlife very ill if swallowed,” said Jennifer.

The National Trust cleared the rubbish, costing an estimated £1,500 in charitable funds.

Jennifer says there have been 95 incidents across the National Trust ‘s land in the New Forest over the summer, adding: “It shows a deep lack of respect and understanding of how special and important the New Forest is. Responding to the 95 incidents we have had across our land this summer has taken us away from vital conservation work. These incidents have increased due to the volume of people using the New Forest over the summer, with cases of illegal camping, barbecues, fires, and encroachments, on top of fly tipping.”

A Bournemouth resident who had paid someone to take away a large amount of waste from house renovations at the end of August, which was founded dumped on Rockford Common, was fined £300.

Councillor Alison Hoare, New Forest District Council’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “Before paying a private company to take away your rubbish, check whether you can dispose of it in your household waste or recycling. You may be able to take your waste to the local county council tip, free for most types of household waste, or for larger items we offer a bulky waste collection for a small charge.

“If you choose to pay someone to take away your rubbish, check they have a waste carrier license and get a receipt. Otherwise, if your waste ends up fly-tipped by a third party you could face an unlimited fine or up to five years in prison. Search fly-tipping at newforest.gov.uk for more information and details of how to check the Environment Agency’s register of licensed waste carriers.”