Dealing with fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is the common term used to describe waste being illegally deposited on land that isn't an authorised landfill site. Fly-tipping can be either a single black rubbish bag being dumped or multiple loads of construction waste.

We treat fly-tipping very seriously and will prosecute anyone who is caught doing it.

The fly-tipping of controlled waste, which requires a waste management licence for its treatment or disposal, is a serious criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £50,000 or one year imprisonment. If the case is very serious and goes to court, an unlimited fine may be imposed and the prison term can be up to five years.

Permitting fly-tipping, or causing it by not disposing of your waste properly, are both also criminal offences and the law applies in the same way as if you were actually doing the fly-tipping yourself. If there is a vehicle involved, there are also offences relating to the controller.

If you give permission for fly-tipping to occur on land you control, you will be open to investigation and prosecution.

Remember:

  • If you give waste to another person for disposal without checking whether they are authorised to carry it, or where the waste is going, you will be open to investigation and prosecution if it is fly-tipped

  • Fly-tipping is often associated with dumping waste from vehicles. In this case, the person controlling the use of the vehicle, normally the registered keeper, can also be prosecuted. This means that it is possible for a prosecution to occur when only the vehicle, not the driver, is identifiable

Preventing fly-tipping

Some simple steps can prevent fly-tipping, including:

  • If you give waste to anyone else, make sure they are authorised to carry it by asking for their carrier’s authorisation. You can check online using the Environment Agency Public Register or by calling 08708 506506

  • Ask where the waste is going. Use the Waste Directory to check legitimate sites

  • Ask for a receipt listing where the waste is going, the vehicle details and the carrier’s authorisation number. This is a legal obligation if you are in business, but is also good practice if you are a private householder

  • If you are a business and need to know more about protecting your environment use Netregs online for more information

  • The waste may be able to be taken by our special refuse collection for large items. See bulky waste link for more information

If you witness fly-tipping, or fly-tipped rubbish, you can report it to us using our online form:

Recording as much detail as possible and reporting the activity immediately will help us in our fight against this illegal activity. All information is valuable to us and will be treated confidentially.

If you can also safely take photos or video evidence, please do so.

Important details to record include:

  • The date and time that you saw the fly-tippers in action or discovered the rubbish

  • The location of the incident – either the address or local landmarks

  • A description of the rubbish e.g. builders rubble, household rubbish, etc.

  • The amount of people you saw and if you recognised any of them

  • A description of the people you saw (e.g. gender, age, hair colour, height, distinguishing features)

  • What you actually saw the people do

  • If there was a vehicle involved, and if there was, any distinguishing features or signs on the vehicle and what was the make, model, colour and registration number

  • Where you were when you saw the fly-tipping. What kind of view did you have? How far away were you, and what were the weather and light conditions like?

The Environment Agency has the statutory responsibility to investigate fly-tipping incidences on larger scale where the waste may pose a serious risk to the environment and where the activity is linked to organised crime.

Remember, do not approach any individuals and do not put yourself in any danger.

What we will do

We will visit the scene to establish the quantity of rubbish and if it is our responsibility, we will remove it. We will also look for evidence, with a view to prosecuting offenders. If the rubbish is deposited on private property it is the responsibility of the landowner to remove it. Although under certain circumstances we may be able to provide a skip.

We will normally remove fly-tipped rubbish within 24 hours, although large quantities or problematic refuse like contaminated rubbish may require specialist removal.

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