Everywhere you go, you see the ubiquitous mattress or fridge left by the side of the road. So much so, that it’s almost become a British joke.
But fly-tipping, as its known, is no laughing matter.
What Is Fly Tipping?
Fly tipping is the illegal dumping of waste. Whether it involves a single bin bag of rubbish chucked over a hedge, or lorry loads of building debris dumped by the side of the road, waste which is not disposed of in the correct manner and in the right location, is deemed as fly tipping.
The most common types of waste to be dumped include large appliances and domestic items, such as sofas and freezers, tyres, construction waste and chemicals.
Where Is It Found?
Fly tipped rubbish can be found anywhere – in lay-bys, old quarries, by the side of the road, on beaches and maybe even in your own back yard.
Any location in which quantities of rubbish is found and which has been deliberately abandoned constitutes fly tipping. It pollutes the environment, is harmful to wildlife, and creates an eyesore on the land.
Who Does It?
Anyone can be a fly-tipper, but the most common perpetrators are usually rogue traders or illegal waste disposal operators.
The reason they fly-tip is to avoid paying a fee to dispose of the waste through legal routes and/or because they do not have a licence to carry the type of waste they are disposing of.
Why Is It A Problem?
Fly-tipping is not only irresponsible and un-neighbourly; it can also have other more serious effects including:
- Spreading disease and encouraging vermin
- Leave hazardous objects and chemicals where young children could be harmed
- Leach toxic chemicals into the environment
- Poison natural habitats for plants, fish and animals
In addition, with it costing between £100 and £150 million each year to investigate fly-tippers and clear up dumped waste, it costs the taxpayer, as well as private landowners, a huge amount of money.
What Does The Law Say?
Fly tipping is illegal. Anyone who dumps waste must be in possession of a Waste Management License and it must always be disposed of at an authorised waste management site.
Anyone found fly-tipping will be prosecuted and is subject to a fine of up £20,000 and/or a six month prison sentence. And if it involves the dumping of hazardous waste, then both the fine and length of imprisonment can be significantly more. Should the case proceed to the High Court, then the fine can be unlimited.
Police also have the power to seize a vehicle which has been used for fly-tipping and prosecute the owner of the vehicle whether or not they were present.
In Scotland, England, and Wales, legislation with regard to fly-tipping is set out as part of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA 1990).
Reporting Fly Tippers
If you see rubbish that has been dumped, do not touch or take anything from it as it could contain harmful chemicals.
Should you see anyone fly-tipping, then don’t approach them but if possible, make a note of the date and time you saw it, along with any details of a vehicle involved and description of any person or persons and the waste being dumped. Then call your local council with the information.