Fly Tipping - What a load of Rubbish

Fly tipping in the UK has spiralled out of control with over 1 million incidents being reported in 2016/17 - a 7% increase on the previous year, that has cost taxpayers between £86 and £186 million pounds in clearance costs - a figure that looks set to rise.

Britain’s Dirty Secret is Rubbish - it’s a massive problem for every one of us. Last year we fly tipped over 490,000 times on our roads alone! We are all responsible for our own rubbish, householders and businesses alike -  so why do some people think they can just dump their rubbish for other people to sort out?

Fly tipping is a dirty and expensive habit and one the British public needs to beat. The Government has recently introduced new powers for local authorities to issue fixed penalty fines of up to £400 for anyone caught fly tipping. In 2017, 474,000 fixed penalty notices were issued at a cost of £16 million to local councils.

But fly tipping isn’t just a problem for Local councils, it has can have a massive impact on private landowners who are responsible for the costs of clearing waste that has been dumped on their land - and that cost can be significant, not only financially but for its impact on the environment, waterways, wildlife, Equines and farmed animals.

The NFU (National Farmers Union) is so concerned that it began recording incidents in 2016. Minette Batters, the NFU President said; “Fly-tipping is the scourge of the countryside - Our members are fully aware of the impacts this can have on farms and the wider countryside, as well as the high costs and stress that can come along with it. This can run into thousands of pounds and can see farmers being forced to deal with the aftermath themselves.

It is estimated that Private landowners faced around 16,000 incidents last year, with over 7000 of them significant - that’s where multiple lorry loads of rubbish are dumped at one time - with an estimated clear up cost of £50 to £150 million. 

Currently, the penalties for fly tipping range from fixed fine of up to £400, to Crown court prosecutions where those caught fly tipping face a custodial sentence of up to 12 months and a £5000 fine - or for larger scale offenders - Crown Court prosecutions with up to 5 years custodial and unlimited fines. Tough deterrents - but are they enough?

Most fly tippers are small scale - with around 33% of fly tips being van size and around 67% being an average car boot size. These range from black bin bags to white goods and DIY/Building debris - now chargeable to dispose of at community waste sites. 

We are asking everyone who buys a new appliance, mattress or has some building work done in their home or garden to ensure that your contractor is a licensed waste carrier. We can no longer assume they are - always ask to see their waste carrier licence and reference number.

If you see someone ‘fly tipping’ you should immediately contact your local council and report the incident. If it’s a van or lorry you should call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 in England or Wales or Dumb Dumpers in Scotland on 0845 230 4090. Lorries fly tipping should be reported to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60. Contact your local council for advice if you see anything and video the people involved if safe and possible. Don't forget to get the vehicles registration number.

Fly tipping is a senseless and selfish act. It is pollution - anyone dumping their rubbish is responsible for any potential damage to the environment, the waterways. They create a risk to human health and may cause suffering or death of wildlife, horses or farmed animals. 

Think before you fly tip - Is it worth polluting the environment or killing animals for the sake of a few pounds to dump your rubbish? Is it worth risking a £400 fine for dumping your old fridge at the side of the road? or maybe the rubble from the job you’ve just finished - is it really worth a £5k fine and possible imprisonment?

We think its time for people to stand up and say no to fly tipping - the simple solution is don’t do it - and always report anyone you see doing it if everyone reading this did these two simple things fly tipping could be consigned to the rubbish tip - safely and legally.