Are you a victim of fly tipping? Here’s what you can do:

Are you a victim of fly tipping? Here’s what you can do:

Fly tipping is becoming a more common activity across the country, with many getting rid of their waste through illegal methods. For those who have seen their land become a site for fly tipping, Lycetts has prepared this guide on what you can do, as well as steps which can be taken to reduce the chance of it occurring in the first place:

The definition of fly tipping

Distributing waste on land that is not licenced to contain it — an illegal activity.

Some of the most common types of waste which fly-tippers get rid of are mattresses, construction waste and tyres which all have a negative impact on the environment.

Is fly tipping a common activity?

Chief of Keep Britain Tidy has described the issue as a “crisis” following a freedom of information request by ITV and reported by The Daily Telegraph, which presents to us just how bad the problem is here in the UK by looking at different cities across the country:

According to the report carried out, fly-tipping activities increase by over a fifth each year across certain council regions. For example, almost 40,000 reported incidents were recorded in the North London district of Haringey between November 2015 and December 2016, with more than 30,000 incidents also reported in Manchester over the same period.

It’s a big problem that local authorities face, and even in areas where fly tipping has decreased —it seems to be becoming harder to get rid of the problem in its entirety. In Birmingham, for instance, the number of fly-tipping cases are down by 13 per cent between November 2015 and December 2016. However, the figure during this period was still recorded at 21,000 offences.

“Fly-tipping is an epidemic, it’s reached crisis levels and something needs to be done about it. Local authorities are overwhelmed with instances of criminal fly-tipping and we need to address this urgently” commented the CEO of Keep Britain Tidy.

According to James Cuthbertson, an account expert at Lycetts who offer agricultural insurance, fly tipping in Scotland is becoming a harder problem to face. Near to 61,000 fly-tipping incidents are recorded in this country every single year, Mr Cuthbertson has found.

“The culprits tend to think of this practice as a victimless crime; but estimates put the cost to Scottish tax payers at £8.9 million a year to clear and dispose of tipped rubbish from council land. Farmers and other countryside custodians must meet the cost of clearing rubbish from private land themselves, at an average of £1,000 a time,” Cuthbertson went on to say.

Are people being prosecuted?

There have been plans in place to help reduce the number of fly-tipping in the UK.

In relation to fly tipping in England, 1,602 people were prosecuted from 2016 to 2017 according to information released by the BBC. What’s more, 98 per cent of prosecutions made resulted in a conviction. During the same time period, councils across England served 56,000 fixed penalty notices in regards to cases of fly-tipping.

The price to pay

As a result of fly-tipping, the surrounding environment becomes endangered and this can have an impact on those living within the area — being looked at as a serious crime, fly tippers can face up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Landowners commonly make the mistake of allowing people to fly tip on their land, whether they do it themselves or allow it to happen on land that they rent out — this is a criminal offence.

“Fines of up to £40,000 can be imposed but, given budgetary constraints, the pursuit of fly tippers is well down the list of priorities of councils and the police. Furthermore, it is hard to gather evidence to bring a successful prosecution,” said Mr Cuthbertson.

What you need to know about someone fly-tipping on your land

If someone had fly-tipped on your land, you ultimately become responsible for its removal.

If you’ve spotted waste on your land, remember that it could be hazardous and could potentially cause harm. Therefore, bags and drums should not be opened and piles of soil should be a cause for alarm bells as the material could be contaminated or hiding dangerous material.

Once you’ve discovered the waste, begin to keep track of every detail you can — this will make your case stronger. This includes where you located the waste, as well as taking photographs if possible. After all details have been recorded, report the case of fly-tipping to your local authority:

  • Those in England and Wales should head to this GOV.UK page and report fly-tipping by first entering the postcode where the waste has been discovered.
  • Those in Scotland should report fly-tipping waste by either filling in a simple online form on or contacting Stopline directly by calling 0845 2 30 40 90.
  • Those in Northern Ireland should head to and find details for their local council, who will be able to advise on the waste disposal sites and recycling centres based nearby for the safe and legal recycling or disposal of unwanted items.

Once fly-tipping waste has been reported, look to secure the waste so that it is unable to be interfered with or added to.

When your waste is being removed, there are some other procedures that you should carry out. First and foremost, do not take the waste to a licensed site yourself unless you’re registered as a waste carrier. If hazardous waste has been identified, it should only be carried and then disposed of by someone who is licensed to deal with hazardous waste.

Document all details regarding the removal of the waste from your land, including the details of the waste itself and those who are removing it — remember to keep record of the cost of removal, as after prosecution these payments can be claimed back.

“In the event you wake one morning to find the midnight cowboys have paid you a visit, if the problem is severe, it is worth consulting with your insurance broker,” Mr Cuthbertson adds. “Most farm combined policies will cover the cost of removal and disposal, less an excess. In the event of a major fly tipping incident, you could be very glad the cover is in place.”

If you’re witnessing fly tipping take place in real time, remember to prioritise your own safety over anything else. As the practice is illegal, people are unlikely to take kindly to their crime being observed. Do not confront the guilty parties, but instead immediately call 999 and then make a note the number of people involved, descriptions of their appearances, details about the waste being fly-tipped and information about any vehicles used — this includes the makes of the vehicles, their colours and their registration numbers if you can make it out.

Protecting your land

There are some known techniques that you can use to remove the risk of your land being targeted for fly tipping.

Barriers will make the job for those wanting to fly tip a lot more difficult, so consider installing gates that are always locked when you’re not around — also look at placing boulders in pathways where vehicles might want to access.

Fly tippers will not target your land if there is a chance they might get caught in the act. Therefore, work on improving visibility all around your property and its land, make sure high-quality exterior lighting is installed and in working condition, and set up CCTV cameras and appropriate signs alerting people of the technology’s presence.


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