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Fly-Tipping & the Law

As an increasing number of local councils across the country are encouraging us to recycle at home, it’s never been more important to be as eco-friendly as possible when it comes to responsibly disposing of our rubbish. However, there are some members of the general public who favour fly-tipping over disposing of their waste sustainably.

In recent years, councils have been looking to cut costs in the public sector and as a result, rubbish collections have become less frequent. In turn, fly-tipping has sadly increased, leaving the countryside and specific urban areas littered with copious amounts of waste that could have otherwise been taken to a recycling centre.

However, fly-tipping is actually a crime and perpetrators could face a number of consequences, including being fined a significant amount of cash, being served a Fixed Penalty Notice or be summoned to court, potentially meaning a prison sentence for a number of years.

So what exactly is fly-tipping, what does the law say when it comes to fly-tipping and how can you avoid handing rubbish over to a waste carrier that’ll simply toss your waste on public or private land? We’re on hand to help!

What is fly-tipping?

‘Fly-Tipping’ is the term given to the illegal disposal of waste, specifically by those who do not hold the valid license required to responsibly throw rubbish away. The term applies to all waste types and amounts, from one bin liner to hefty amounts of bulky waste. Although legislation covering the act of fly-tipping is difficult and not at all straightforward to follow, ignorance of the law will not let you off the hook if you’re caught.

Is fly-tipping a criminal offence?

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence and applies to the illegal disposal of both commercial and domestic waste. Whether the rubbish has come from your home or a construction site, if it’s dumped on public or private land, a fly-tipping offence has been committed. A fly-tipping offence would have also been committed if any of the following has happened:

  • Rubbish is dumped on authorised land without the required waste management license
  • Waste is allowed to be disposed of on unauthorised land
  • Waste is caused to be dumped on unauthorised land
  • Waste is kept, stored, treated or disposed of on unauthorised land without a valid waste management license
  • Waste is stored, kept, treated or disposed of in such a way where it poses threat or danger to humans or wildlife
  • Waste is stored, kept, treated or disposed of in a way which is likely to cause pollution or damage to the environment

What is controlled waste?

Controlled waste refers to a number of different waste types and items, including:

  • Household rubbish and domestic waste
  • Other household items, including furniture, electrical appliances, beds and mattresses
  • Commercial or construction waste, including: rubble, tyres, clinical waste and car parts

If any of the aforementioned items or waste types are not thrown away correctly or responsibly, or if they’re disposed of without a valid waste management license, then a fly-tipping offence would have been committed and legal action will be taken against the perpetrators.

Penalties for fly-tipping

Depending on the severity of the offence or the amount of times the crime has been committed, the penalty one could receive will vary. Above all else, the impact the offence has had on the environment, together with whether wildlife or humans have been harmed in the process, will be taken into account before a penalty is issued.

The costs and effort to have the waste responsibly removed and disposed of will also be taken into consideration, making fly-tipping one of the most expensive crimes when it comes to being handed fines and penalties.

The consequences you could face will also depend on the type of waste that has been dumped. We’ll be explaining the penalties that could be faced depending on whether or not household waste or commercial waste has been dumped.

Penalties for fly-tipping domestic or household waste

The penalties given for fly-tipping household waste could vary significantly depending on the severity of the crime, how much waste has been dumped, whether harm to human or animal life has been done, together with the impact it has had on the environment.

You could face:

  • A £5,000 fine
  • An ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Offence) if you’re a repeat offender
  • A £100 Fixed Penalty Notice

Fines can also be given to homeowners who have not properly observed scheduled bin or rubbish collection days. If waste is allowed to accumulate, then a fine or Fixed Penalty Notice can also be issued to offenders.

Penalties for fly-tipping business and commercial waste

Like with most offences, a fine can be issued if the law is not properly observed and much like the irresponsible disposal of household waste, the fine or prison sentence will vary depending on how severe the fly-tipping offence is.

You could face:

  • A £5,000 fine
  • An ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Offence) for repeat offenders
  • A £300 Fixed Penalty Notice

Fines or Fixed Penalty Notices could be given to a company who has not provided the necessary documentation necessary to prove that they’re an authorised waste carrier. A company could also be fined if they fail to register themselves as an authorised waste carrier. If a company is an authorised waste carrier and they breach their duty of care, then a fine will be issued.

Penalties for using a vehicle to fly-tip waste

When a vehicle is used to fly-tip waste, then the penalty could also involve the seizing or destruction of the car or van that was used in the offence by the Environment Agency. Local authorities are also allowed to stop, search and seize the vehicle, but only if a police officer is present in order to make it legally appropriate.

The vehicle could be forfeited in order to pay off the fine or penalty that’s issued to the offender, particularly if landed with a £5,000 fine. In addition to that, it could be given over to cover the costs associated with the clean up operation and the subsequent responsible disposal of the rubbish that was initially dumped.

Offenders will also need to foot the bill of legal interventions and investigations together with having to pay for the overall enforcement of the law, as the police would have spent a considerable amount of time and money catching up with and charging the perpetrator.

How to find a reputable waste carrier

There are many ways in which you can find out whether a waste carrier is authorised and legitimate before choosing one to take either your domestic or commercial waste away. This also goes for waste management companies, specifically those who provide skips and industrial bins.

A legitimate waste carrier will always:

  • Have a waste carrier license that has been verified by the Environment Agency – you can check this by looking it up on their website
  • Be registered with the Environment Agency
  • Provide site license details of the place where waste is to be disposed of
  • Provide proof of where the waste was taken using an official weight ticket – this will also identify the disposal site
  • Supply a waste transfer note for the removal of waste whenever asked to produce it

There is a code that the general public are recommended to follow: SCRAP. It involves remembering to do the following when looking for a legitimate waste carrier or waste management company:

Suspect – always be wary of waste carriers until they provide proof that they’re legitimate. Do not let them take your waste away without seeing proof of registration and always note down the registration plate of the vehicle

Check – look up the company on the Environment Agency’s website to see if they’re registered

Refuse – if anyone comes to your door unannounced offering to take your rubbish away for a fee, then refuse their help. If they take it and fly-tip the rubbish, you will be held responsible for allowing the irresponsible disposal of waste

Ask questions – a legitimate company will be happy to answer any questions you have, so ask how your rubbish will be disposed of and then request proof or evidence of that

Paperwork – you must obtain and file away any paperwork relating to waste disposal, even if it’s a skip. You should also ask for a proper invoice, a waste transfer receipt or note, a description of the waste being disposed of and the contact details of the waste carrier you have chosen

Here’s how Willshee’s can help you

Here at Willshee’s, we’re proud to be able to offer our customers a wealth of waste management solutions that can always be counted upon. We offer a number of services that only ever involve the responsible disposal of an abundance of waste types, so you’ll always be able to rely on us.

Specialising in the removal and eco-friendly disposal of commercial, domestic and industrial waste, together with a transparent, reliable skip hire service, Willshee’s will always be on hand to help your project run as smoothly as possible.

We have a number of skip types and sizes available, so you’ll be able to choose one that’s right for you and your project, whether it’s for small domestic purposes or large commercial developments, we’ll be happy to talk you through the countless options available to you.

You can rest assured that all waste will be disposed of as sustainably as possible, keeping the environment at the heart of everything we do. With dedicated recycling services onsite, you’ll have absolute peace of mind when you choose Willshee’s to dispose of your construction or domestic waste.

We’ll be able to recycle a wide range of waste material, including:

  • Concrete
  • Hardcore
  • Bulky waste
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Textiles
  • Plasterboard
  • Green waste
  • Soil
  • Residual waste

For more information about how we can help you to retrieve and responsibly dispose of your waste, no matter what it is, get in touch with a member of our expert team today – we’ll be happy to talk you through the options we have available, including our grab hire services.


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