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A fly tip of construction waste in the Forest, with bright, laminated warning notices over it

A fly tip under investigation

Fly tipping in Epping Forest

Have you found or witnessed a fly tip?  Please don't touch anything, report it to us straight away on 020 8532 1010 or email Epping Forest.

Epping Forest is a Registered Charity owned, managed and largely paid for by the City of London Corporation so, for us, the cost associated with the clearance, investigation and enforcement of fly-tipping across the Forest has a real and lasting impact on our ability to deliver management objectives for the benefit of Forest users.

In the financial year 2015-16, Epping Forest spent £60,000 clearing 790 fly tips consisting of 323 tonnes of waste across Epping Forest. This is in addition to more than £240,000 a year spent on litter management. This is all money that could be better used to provide staff or much needed upgrades to paths, structures and facilities that would benefit Forest users.

To combat this behaviour, we have adopted a zero tolerance approach to fly tipping and are prosecuting incidents wherever possible. Remember, the Forest is for #TreesNotTrash!

Your waste, your responsibility

If you are having waste removed from your house or garden, the law states you must take all reasonable steps to keep your waste safe. This is called Duty of Care. If you give your waste to someone else, you must make sure they are authorised to take it, transport it, recycle or dispose of it safely. If you break this law, you can be fined up to £50,000.

Fly-tipping: a threat to the Forest

Epping Forest represents one of the largest semi-natural terrestrial habitats in the whole of south-east England, including heaths and grasslands which have declined elsewhere in the UK by more than 80% in the last 60 years. It also supports more ancient trees than any other single site in the UK, as well as comprising 10% of London’s acid grassland – a particularly scarce and threatened habitat. This broad range of habitats in turn supports one of the highest diversities of species in southern England, including 450 of the rarest and most threatened in the UK.

Fly-tipping and the disposal of chemical and alien materials on the Forest are threats to this protected biodiversity. This is why it isn't acceptable to deposit your garden waste on the Forest. The habitats and species in the Forest are reliant on its overall low nutrient status, its ancient, undisturbed soils and its protected water catchments. In addition to directly destroying habitat, waste material pollutes soil and water and causes further damage to biodiversity. It can also present the threat of invasive non-native species, new pests and plant diseases.

Together, these are recognised by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as three of the five biggest threats to biodiversity and habitats worldwide, alongside climate change and the intensification of development.

Volunteers working together to pick up litter at Wanstead Flats

Volunteer litter pickers at Wanstead Flats


Litter is not only dangerous for wildlife, it costs us over £300,000 every year to collect and dispose of, and detracts from the beauty of the Forest.

Our litter pickers work hard to keep the Forest tidy and our Forest Keepers investigate all fly tips for evidence that can lead to prosecution. We have a team of three full time and nine part time litter staff  to deal with fly tips and the removal of litter, as well as over 200 volunteers who regularly litter pick in Epping Forest - and numerous external volunteer groups who work in partnership with us.

If you're interested in volunteering with us as a litter picker, please see our volunteering pages.

A sky lantern in the grazing fields at Epping Forest

​A sky lantern that has landed in the middle of our grazing herd

Sky lanterns 

Lanterns pose a significant fire risk, even biogradable ones. Fallen lanterns can trap animals or cause internal injuries if they eat the metal or bamboo frame.

Fire services have issued warnings to people because of the fire risk, and lanterns have already been banned in some countries. The release of sky lanterns is not permitted in Epping Forest.

Please pick up sky lantern debris and spread the word about the dangers of using lanterns. 

Dog fouling​

Dog waste can be disposed of in any of our litter bins. Dog fouling is now an offence under the Dog Control Orders which cover the Forest, a summary of which is available on our dog walking page.

09 May 2013
Last Modified:
30 August 2019