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Fly-tipping

Report fly-tipping

Report it online, by calling the Council's Customer Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000 or by text to 07786 200 802.

All information will be treated as confidential.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence that causes a serious hazard, pollutes the environment, spoils our neighbourhoods and wastes your council tax. Please help us to identify offenders.

On conviction, the fine is up to £50,000 or six months imprisonment or both.

Report fly-tipping

What is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste and is a crime.

All kinds of waste are fly-tipped, the most common being household waste.

Other wastes that are fly-tipped include appliances like fridges and washing machines, waste from building and demolition work, animal carcasses, vehicle parts and tyres. Hazardous wastes such as oil, asbestos sheeting and chemicals are also dumped illegally.

The types of land most commonly affected by fly-tipping include land near to public waste tips, roadsides and private land, particularly on the outskirts of urban areas, in back alleys and on derelict land.

Impacts of fly-tipping

Fly-tipping:

  • is a criminal activity that can cause serious pollution of the environment, can be a risk to human health and can harm wildlife and farm animals
  • spoils the local neighbourhoods and quality of life
  • costs an estimated £100 million in total to clean up
  • costs local authorities alone £44 million each year to clear up
  • is seen as a major problem by over three quarters of landowners and affects 67% of farmers
  • undermines legitimate waste management companies who are undercut by illegal operators

If you hire a waste contractor/company to remove your waste - make sure your waste contractor is operating legally

You must always check they are registered, visit Register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers.

You should always ask to see the original copy of their waste carrier's licence. By law, registered waste carriers are required to provide you with a waste transfer note; official paperwork that confirms receipt of your waste and where it is being taken to. The waste carrier can be fined up to £5,000 plus costs for failing to produce either when requested by the council. 

Do not use a contractor that won't show you a waste carrier's licence or who won't provide you with a waste transfer note.

You can be prosecuted and fined if someone else illegally disposes of your waste on your behalf. This can include a company that provides you with a skip to take waste away, or even a joiner or a builder doing work at your property.

When arranging for someone to collect waste from your home, use the S.C.R.A.P code:

  • Suspect - beware of rogue waste carriers. Reputable companies do not usually make direct approaches. If in any doubt, do not allow them to take your waste.
  • Check - ask for their waste carrier registration details, and verify them either by checking the online register or by calling (03708) 506 506. Note down the registration number of the vehicle used to take your waste away, just in case.
  • Refuse - refuse unsolicited offers to have any rubbish taken away. Always carry out your own research and choose who you wish to approach.
  • Ask - always ask what exactly is going to happen to your rubbish and seek evidence that it is going to be disposed of appropriately. A legitimate, professional waste carrier who wants your business should not object to being asked reasonable questions.
  • Paperwork - make sure you get a proper receipt containing the written information for your waste. This should include what has been removed and where it will be going. Make sure the company or tradesperson's details are included.

What is the Government is doing about fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping of waste is illegal and constitutes a serious offence for which a person can be prosecuted.

The Government has introduced a range of measures aimed at tackling fly-tipping, including the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (CNEA) which gives regulators more powers to tackle fly-tipping and the courts the ability to impose tougher penalties.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence. The CNEA increased the penalties for dumping waste in England and Wales.

Fly-tippers can now be fined up to £50,000 in Magistrates' Courts and face unlimited fines in higher courts, as well as community punishment orders or prison sentences of up to five years.

Those convicted of fly-tipping offences can now be made to pay the costs of enforcement and investigation, as well as the clean-up costs.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

"It is illegal for any person to deposit controlled waste, knowingly cause or knowingly permit controlled waste to be deposited in or on any land unless a waste management licence is in force and the deposit is in accordance with the licence."

What information is helpful to report?

Before you take action, make sure it's safe to do so.

Be extremely careful. Some waste can be hazardous.

Do not open black bags or drums. Piles of soil may be contaminated or may be hiding dangerous material.

Remember fly-tippers are doing something illegal - they are unlikely to welcome people observing them or taking notes or photographs.

What to record:

  • Did you just discover the waste or actually see it being fly-tipped?
  • Day, date and time that you discovered the waste or saw it being fly-tipped
  • Location for example place, landmark, street, town, grid reference
  • A description of the waste e.g. bag, drum, fridge, tyres, building waste. Is there any evidence of pollution resulting from the waste? Is it loose and does it need containing?
  • The quantity or volume of waste e.g. number of bags, a van load, multiple loads

If you saw the waste being fly-tipped:

  • Who was with you?
  • Who did you see?
  • How many people did you see fly-tipping and what did they look like?
  • Did you recognise any of them?
  • Can you describe them e.g. sex, hair colour, distinguishing features?
  • What did these people actually do?

Was there a vehicle involved? If so:

  • What did it look like?
  • What was its make, model and colour?
  • What was its registration number?
  • Were there any distinguishing features or signs on the vehicle?

Where were you when you saw the fly-tipping?

  • What kind of view did you have?
  • How far away were you?
  • What was the weather like?
  • Was it light or dark?

Other information

Any other relevant details, for example photographs / video taken, details of phone calls made on site reporting the incident.

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