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

The problem ranges from a bag of household rubbish being dumped in a layby, to truckloads of waste being disposed of on either private or council owned land. It?s become a massive problem. At worst, it can be hazardous ? to individuals, wildlife and the environment. At best, it?s unattractive and expensive to deal with.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence, and the courts have powers that range from on-the-spot fines of up to £400, to imprisonment. But 'professional' fly-tippers who take payment for collecting refuse, then dump it illegally, are hard to identify, arrest and prosecute.

Every year at Streetwise we get over 800 calls from members of the public reporting fly-tipping, and we clear over 300 tons of waste. But the problem keeps on growing and costs the economy millions of pounds a year.

So, as a member of the public, what can you do to help?

  • Always ensure that anyone who is removing waste for you is a registered waste carrier. You can ask to see their certificate, or check with the Environment Agency
  • Make responsible arrangements for the removal/disposal of your own waste:
    • Use official roadside collections
    • Use your local recycling centres
    • Contact your local authority to find out if they have a bulky waste collection service for larger items such as furniture and kitchen appliances
    • Contact Streetwise Environmental - we provide a waste collection service
  • If you witness fly-tipping, make a note of the time and place, and a vehicle registration number if possible, and report it to your local authority, the Environment Agency or Streetwise Environmental. DON'T put yourself in danger by challenging the fly-tippers, or investigating the waste which might be dangerous in content.
  • Business owners should have a contract with a registered waste carrier, or they can dispose of business waste at a site that is licensed to take commercial waste. There will be a fee.
What should you do if somebody fly-tips on your own land?

Unfortunately, the local authority is not obliged to dispose of waste dumped on private land. If you become the victim of fly-tipping:

  • Report the incident to your local authority or the Environment Agency. They should be able to give you advice on how to remove the waste.
  • Check that anyone you contract to remove the waste has a licence.
  • Look at ways of making it more difficult for fly-tippers to access your land.
Useful contacts:

  • Enter your postcode at: to be directed to the appropriate department of your local authority
  • Environment Agency: 03708 506506
  • Streetwise Environmental: 0115 914 8408

John Scott-Lee, Managing Director