Mountain of unused PPE, including tonnes of aprons and face masks, is found in Hampshire

Hampshire County Council and the Environment Agency say they're working together to investigate the facts of how it came to be here. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Thousands of boxes of unused PPE have been discovered next to a nature reserve on the edge of the New Forest.

The Environment Agency is looking at how tonnes of aprons and face masks ended up on private land in Calmore, bordering Testwood Lakes and a caravan park.

New Forest Council said the material is due to be removed from the site for processing and recycling into plastic bags over the coming weeks.

A council spokesperson said: "New Forest Council carried out a routine inspection at Little Testwood Farm Caravan Park as part of its annual inspection regime on 4 April 2023.

  • The mountain of boxes has been discovered by New Forest Council inspectors.

"This inspection revealed that a large quantity of PPE was being stored on the land in contravention of the caravan site licence conditions. The Council, in its licensing capacity, has requested that the stored items be removed from the land.

"Subsequent inspections have been carried out by Hampshire County Council and the Environment Agency. All the material is packaged and palletized and is due to be removed from the site for processing and recycling into plastic bags over the coming weeks. The Environment Agency will continue to carry out further enquires as to source of the material and how it came to be present on the land."

They filed a report to Hampshire County Council and councillors were horrified that nobody seemed to know anything about it.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council, said: "Hampshire County Council is working jointly with the Environment Agency to investigate more facts regarding this issue.

  • WATCH ITV News Meridian speaking to the manager of a local care home.

"The County Council was advised of the location of the PPE by New Forest District Council following a site visit. The County Council is unable to comment on, or provide any additional detail, while this investigation is ongoing."

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said: "Wildlife is under increasing pressure from the impacts of human activity.

"Fly tipping in the countryside can be a real issue which has detrimental impacts on the environment. The dumping of waste can damage or destroy plants, and have a devastating effect on the animals that call these areas home.

"Fly tipping can lead to a loss of biodiversity, it may disrupt the balance of ecosystems, and it can also lead to soil and water pollution. We all have a responsibility to dispose of waste appropriately."

Ashka Pecorick, Manager at nearby Colbury Care Homes, said: "It's absolutely unbelievable. That could have gone to the homes, that could have gone to the NHS and - to find out the cost of that PPE could have been put to good use - unbelievable, really. All of that PPE that's been put there, it's made us quite cross.

"In terms of PPE especially at the beginning it was very difficult, there was a lot of stress around. Staff weren't able to get PPE, we weren't able to get PPE from anywhere. Staff were having to purchase their own PPE, especially masks. Obviously there was a lot of panic around. We didn't know what was going to happen. It was very stressful."

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