Fly tipping is the illegal dumping of waste and causes massive issues to neighbourhoods and the environment. It is because the fly tipping problem has escalated so much that it is a serious criminal offence for which you can be prosecuted.
What is fly tipping?
As said fly tipping is the illegal dumping or bulky items or rubbish in areas where dumping is not permitted. It can be very dangerous to the environment, humans and animal health because there is no control on what is being dumped. Which means hazardous and non-degradable items can often be found in the illegal dumping sites.
Is it a crime?
Yes fly tipping is definitely a criminal offence with severe penalties imposed on those caught doing so. It usually includes the illegal disposal of bulky industrial, commercial or household items and other types of waste both liquid and solid. Fridges, mattresses construction and demolition waste are just some examples. Fly tipping should not be confused with littering which is generally associated with materials connected to food, drink and smoking.
Who can be guilty of it?
Anyone can be guilty of fly tipping, from households to companies and other organisations, basically anyone who illegally dumps waste on non-dumping grounds being a nuisance and polluting lands and waterways.
Most people do fly tipping due to a basic lack of understanding about the effects it has on human and animal health and on the environment. Sometimes people are also unaware of the facilities available for lawful and ethical disposals. Of course sometimes it just comes down to pure laziness and the knowledge that by fly tipping the rubbish becomes someone else’s problem.
What type of waste is considered here?
Basically tipping electrical items, mattresses, furniture, clothes, big bin bags of rubbish come under fly-tipping. It makes an area look ugly and it is also expensive to clear away fly tipped rubbish.
Why has it become an issue?
First and foremost it makes an area look rundown and ugly when it has piles of rubbish and bulky items laying around. When one person dumps rubbish you find others following even though it is illegal and detrimental to both people and the environment. Fly tipping has unfortunately increased with many people seeking the easy way out when it comes to disposing of their rubbish.
According to a report in the year 2020/21, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents. This is a 16% increase from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20.
How to prevent fly tipping?
In England, local authorities are responsible for investigating cases of small scale fly tipping on public land. They have the authority to take and enforce the necessary action. Larger scale fly tipping and those involving hazardous waste is the responsibility of the Environment Agency. On private land the owner is responsible for removing waste.
Both the local authorities and the Environment Agency have the legal powers to ensure landowners clear fly tipped waste from their land. They also have the authority to enter a land, clear out the rubbish and to seek reimbursement from the owner, for removal related costs.
Information regarding the proper disposal mechanisms is made easily available to all. The Government has committed to publishing a web based fly tipping toolkit to help tackle the issue. Reporting of offenders to authorities is also made easy to do and encouraged.
Harsh penalties are imposed with the courts having various powers to tackle fly tipping. This includes unlimited fines, imprisonment and the ability to deprive rights to a vehicle used to commit the fly tipping offence.
Uncontrolled illegal waste dumping can be hazardous and create serious health issues, especially if toxic material contaminates the environment. It poses a significant risk to watercourses and soil, which is why fly tipping is an illegal offence and a problem that the government is working hard on solving.