Naturenet: Flytipping



lFly-tipped rubbishy-tipping is the unauthorised dumping of waste. It is something that most countryside managers have to deal with from time to time, and is particularly common near urban areas. It costs money to dump rubbish at a licensed tip, so it is cheaper to throw it out of the back of a van in a lay-by or car park one evening. It is also a common problem when houses back onto countryside. People frequently throw rubbish over their own back fences, onto what rapidly becomes 'waste' land. All of these things are offences, but unfortunately for the landowner, it is very hard to use the law to do anything about fly-tipping, assuming you know who did it in the first place.

To report flytipping anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales use the form.

If you are a private landowner and become a victim of fly-tipping then it is your responsibility to safely dispose of the waste and pay any costs for doing so. 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.

If you suffer flytipping you - or someone - should be able to answer one of the following questions with a yes to stand a hope of succeeding in any prosecution:

Even so, there is not much chance of success with casual flytipping. A far better bet is when a landowner tips across his own borders, for example a building site dumping spoil across the fence, or a householder throwing a settee over the hedge. In this case, especially if you have seen the landowner at it, you might well have a case. However, in this case you should almost certainly try the polite approach first, and only go onto prosecutions if this has got you nowhere.

In the case of garden rubbish, it is usually fairly obvious who the culprits are, or at least where they probably live. If you represent the local authority a  strongly worded but non-specific note on official paper dropped by hand to each house within wheelbarrow range can be very effective, especially when combined with a high-profile local clear-up. Of course, you can't actually prosecute unless you catch them at it, just like anything else, but neighbour pressure is a marvellous thing. If it comes to it, sit out there on a Sunday afternoon behind a bush. You will soon get plenty of evidence. You should also be aware that some garden waste, such as grass cuttings, does not fall under the definition of 'controlled waste' and so although still illegal to tip might be even harder to actually prosecute over. Much better to be vaguely threatening.

Depending on the nature of the crime flytipping can involve the police, the local council, the Environment AgencyPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet, the landowner, or any or all of these. Initial reports can go to the local authority. Reports to the Environment Agency can be made using their national hotline number 0800 807 060.

Advice for those dealing with flytipping

Upon finding a deposit of fly-tipped waste you should treat it as potentially dangerous. Anything involving unmarked containers, solvents, burnt or burning material (especially including vehicles), is particularly suspect. Burnt vehicles (or the debris left after a burnt vehicle has been removed) should never be touched without wearing protective gloves as it may contain highly toxic compounds which can be absorbed through the skin. Only disturb fly-tipped waste if the waste is obviously harmless, e.g. grass cuttings.

Upon witnessing a Fly-Tipping incident in progress you should:

Note: If after being approached the potential depositors clear up their waste and leave, please forward the details to the Environment Agency as it is likely that they will be unregistered waste carriers and will tip elsewhere.

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