Fly-tipping is a serious problem throughout the UK as people dump their rubbish in places where it is not legal to do so. This causes environmental issues affecting the wildlife, as well as ruining the aesthetic of roadsides, countrysides and so on. It is important that you understand the fly-tipping laws – and everything else surrounding this topic. Below, you will find all the information you need to report fly-tipping, identify it, and understand the legal ramifications if you are caught doing it.
What is Fly Tipping?
The technical definition of fly-tipping is any instance where someone illegally deposits waste onto land that doesn’t have a license to accept it. Throughout the UK, there are different areas of land or waste sites where you are permitted to throw waste away. These are set up by local governments, and they are the only places where one can deposit a large quantity of waste. For smaller amounts of waste, you have many local bins that can be used.
Fly-tipping tends to happen when individuals will throw rubbish bags on the side of the road or attempt to deposit large items in places where they are not allowed to do so.
How to Report Fly Tipping
Identifying fly-tipping in your local area is a relatively easy thing to do. Essentially, you have to look for waste that’s been dumped somewhere that it doesn’t belong. Seeing black bin bags full of rubbish on the side of the road or next to a local bin will count as fly-tipping. As will instances where you see household items in bushes or other waste products littered along the roadside.
You don’t want your local community to become overrun with instances of fly-tipping. It ruins the appeal of the area and can cause significant problems with the locals. Excessive fly-tipping might lead to more road accidents as rubbish spills onto the road and can create obstacles for cars to swerve around. So, if you see fly-tipping taking place, what can you do about it?
Thankfully, all local governments in the UK will have things in place to help you report fly-tipping with ease. All you need to do is visit your local government’s website, searching for the page relating to fly-tipping. While each local council may have a slightly different response, most will require you to fill in a witness report if you saw the fly tip happen. This means you need to provide information on the date, time and place of the incident, how much waste there was and any descriptions of the person or vehicles you witnessed.
Similarly, if you have found waste that has been fly-tipped, you can report this to your local council. Again, do this via their website – or give them a call – and detail the road or location of the waste. There are forms you can fill in to do so, and you will effectively submit a request to have the waste removed by the council.
One key thing to keep in mind is that you should never take matters into your own hands if you witness people dumping their waste. They won’t take kindly to someone interfering, so the best approach is to stand back and take in as much information as you can. Taking photos will be ideal, but you don’t want to get involved to stop them from dumping their rubbish. Wait until they leave, then contact your council with the details.
What About Large-scale Fly-tipping?
Large-scale fly-tipping refers to situations where a lot of waste is dumped in one go. This typically happens when lorries will dump a load of rubbish somewhere, or construction site vehicles dump their waste illegally. If you witness this, contact Crimestoppers instead of your local government.
Is Fly-Tipping a Criminal Offence and a Police Matter?
Yes, fly-tipping is a criminal offence that is punishable by law. People can be prosecuted for this, and there are many different punishments that an individual can face depending on the severity of the case – and the individual’s history.
Consequently, it is also a police matter. When you contact your local council, they will pass the details on to the police. If you are witnessing fly-tipping, you can also contact the local authorities directly if you’d prefer. The police will come to the scene of the crime and take information from you, then handle things accordingly.
Who is Responsible for Fly-Tipping on Private Land?
Private land is land that has been bought by someone and they are the owner of it. This differs from the majority of land in the country that is owned by the council or government. As a result, different rules apply when someone has fly-tipped on private land.
Unlike fly-tipping on public land, the council cannot remove any waste that’s been illegally dumped on private property. This is simply because it’s the duty of the landowner to handle this. If you own private land, you will need to safely remove and dispose of the waste. It is crucial that you find the safest way of disposing of the waste, and that you don’t just dump it off your land onto public land. You can decide how to remove the waste, and you will have to pay for any costs associated with this. Typically, the safest way is to pay a registered waste removal company to do so, preventing the need for you to handle the waste.
You should also make a note of the incident – including any information relating to the culprits if you witnessed them do it. Then, you need to report the incident to your local authority or the Environmental Agency – depending on the scale of the waste. Small-scale incidents are handled by your local council, so you will need to contact them in the same way mentioned above.
Fine for Fly Tipping UK
The government is keen to underline the fact that fly-tipping is an illegal act and a criminal offence. As a result, numerous fines can be handed out for this offence, maxing out at £50,000. The large fines are more likely to be reserved for repeat offenders and companies that dispose of large amounts of waste illegally. In more severe cases, a 12-month prison sentence can be called upon, depending on the court’s rulings. It is also possible for the Crown Court to issue an unlimited fine in very rare cases, as well as a 5-year prison sentence.
Nevertheless, these fines are reserved for the more serious instances of fly-tipping in the UK. Are there any fines in place for minor examples of this? For instance, if someone throws their household waste away illegally?
In short, yes, there are.
The courts can fine people anywhere between £150 and £400 for minor cases of fly-tipping. The exact amount depends on the case – as well as someone’s history. If you are caught fly-tipping more than once, your fines will likely increase.
Not only that but you can be fined up to £400 if you pay an unlicensed waste carrier to remove your waste, and they fly tip it. This is why it is absolutely essential that you find waste carriers with the correct licensing. It’s easy to search for this online, and you can’t afford to take the risk. Even if a licensed carrier fly-tips your waste, you can avoid the fine as you believed they were trustworthy because of their license. In very rare cases like this, the company will be the ones that have to pay any penalties or face prosecution.
Fly Tipping Prevention
Naturally, there are many plans from the powers that be to combat the issue of fly-tipping in the UK. Different regulations and ideas are being thrown around, but there are things that regular people can do every day to try and prevent it from happening:
- Report it – If you witness fly-tipping, report it! Reporting people for committing this crime will mean fewer people take the risk and fly-tip.
- Correctly dispose of your waste – Be sure that you know how to correctly dispose of all your waste. Head to your local council’s website for information on when waste and recycling collections happen in your area. You will know exactly what can be collected weekly, and what can’t. You can also find information on local recycling centres where you can take larger quantities of waste to dispose of correctly.
- Ensure you work with registered waste carriers – If you need to hire a third party to remove your waste, only do so if they are registered and licensed waste carriers. This ensures that your rubbish will not be fly-tipped.
Contact MEC for Fly Tipping Removal
Have you been a victim of fly-tipping on your property? Ensure that it gets removed swiftly and safely by employing the help of MEC today. We are registered waste carriers, meaning we are qualified and licensed to handle waste and dispose of it correctly.
Get in touch with us today to book your fly-tipping removal services!