All You Need To Know About Fly-Tipping & The Law

So what is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is defined as the ‘illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a license to accept it’.

Fly-tipping comes in various sizes from simply tipping a sofa, mattress, or a bin bag to unloading tonnes of waste full of rubbish in the countryside. Not only does this cause a local nuisance it also makes an area look ugly and run down. At the larger end of the scale, fly-tipping can involve multiple truckloads of construction and demolition waste being tipped on different types of land such as farmer's field, school fields, and behind shops, etc.
Uncontrolled illegal waste disposal can be very hazardous to the public, especially if it contains needles, toxic material, or asbestos. There could even be a risk of damage to watercourses and soil quality from the dumped waste.


These are the stats for illegal dumping in the UK.

For the 2018/19 year, local authorities in England dealt with over 1 million (1,072,000) fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 8% from the 998,000 reported in 2017/18.

There were nearly two thirds (62%) of fly-tips that involved household rubbish/waste. The total incidents involving household waste increased by 2% from 2017/18.

Consistent with previous years, the most common place for fly-tipping to occur was on highways (pavements and roads), this accounted for almost half (46%) of total incidents in 2018/19. The number of highway incidents has increased by 6% from 2017/18.

In 2018/19, 36,000 or 3% of total incidents were of ‘tipper lorry load’ size or larger, which is similar to 2017/18. For these large fly-tipping incidents, the cost of clearance to local authorities in England in 2018/19 was £12.9 million, compared with £12.2 million in 2017/18.

Local authorities carried out more than 499,000 enforcement actions against fly-tippers in 2018/19, an increase of 5,000 actions (1%) from 2017/18.

These are the figures for the number of fixed penalty notices issued in 2019/2019 (76,000). This is the second most common action (after investigations) and accounted for 15% of all actions in 2018/19.
Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offense for which you can be prosecuted. The courts have various powers available to them to tackle fly-tipping, including imprisonment, substantial fines of up to £50,000 orders to pay costs, and an order to deprive rights to a vehicle used to commit the offense.

Many local authorities have changed the way they capture and report fly-tips over the past few years, so the changes over time should be interpreted with some care. 


What to do if someone has fly-tipped on your land?

If you are a private landowner and have become a victim of fly-tipping then we are sorry to say that it is your responsibility to safely dispose of the waste/rubbish and pay any costs for doing so.
Firstly you must report the incident to your local authority or the Environment Agency. Although they have no obligation to remove the waste, they may be able to provide guidance on the best way to deal with the removal of the waste.
The next step is to decide how to deal with the waste that has been dumped on your land making sure that the waste cannot be interfered with or escape.
And finally, when looking for a responsible waste carrier such as are registered with the environment agency and ask for any waste carrier license. You can do this by calling the general enquires Environment Agency number on 08708 506506.
You can help minimize these fly-tipping attacks by thinking about why your land has been targeted in the first place. Maybe the area easy to access? Is it an area where people cannot be seen fly-tipping? Once you have established the reason why your land has been targeted, you may want to take steps to make it less vulnerable. Ensure it is secure with chains and padlocks, cut hedges down so it's more visible for passersbys.