Fly-tipping is a term used to describe the illegal dumping of any rubbish onto land that is not a licensed disposal site.
When people leave bags of rubbish, used mattresses and electrical junk at the side of the street, it creates an eyesore for the whole area and can present a major environmental hazard. Serious cases of fly-tipping occur when people dump multiple truckloads of demolition, construction or chemical waste onto protected land.
In many cases, illegal waste disposal presents a risk to the public, especially if the waste contains contaminated or toxic materials, such as asbestos. Serious damage to the water table and soil quality in the area can be caused by mass-scale, uncontrolled fly-tipping.
Between 2016 and 2017 over one million cases of fly-tipping were reported in England and subserviently cleaned up by local authority councils. Reports suggest that the estimated cost of dealing with all those incidences topped £58 million.
In the UK, fly-tipped is classified as a criminal offence and people who are caught can face prosecution. Some of the ways in which the courts can deal with offenders include imprisonment, heavy fines and the removal of driving licences. Fines can exceed
£50,000 depending on how much damage was caused to the environment.
I saw a person fly-tipping, what should I do?
If the waste was dumped onto your private land, it is your responsibility to deal with the waste and cover all costs associated with the cleanup.
You can report the incident to the Environment Agency and/or a local authority. Either of those bodies can provide you with information and guidance as to how best to dispose of the waste.
You need to decide whether to pay a company to take the waste away in skip bags or take the waste to a registered waste disposal facility yourself. If you can’t deal with waste immediately, it’s important to make sure it is contained, so it can not damage another person, vehicle or property if the wind picks up.
If you hire someone to take the waste away, you need to ensure they are a registered waste carrier. You can check this by calling the Environment Agency’s general enquires line on 08708 506506.
Do you know why fly-tippers targeted your land? If your land is easily accessible from the roadside, you might want to put up a fence and/or an alarm system to make it less susceptible to future opportunists.
How do you ensure your own waste to not fly-tipped?
Many local authorities provide a collection service for bulky waste, such as sofas, fridges, washing machines, tumble dryers and more. You should contact your council for more details.
Most local authority council now operate garden waste collection services. You can pay an annual fee to get a separate wheelie bin for garden waste. Alternatively, you can start composting the waste in your garden.
Commercial waste is subject to tight regulations. If you own a business in England, you are legally required to have a …