Fly tipping is an issue in the United Kingdom and most other countries, it is an illegal act that has resulted in a great deal of pollution and mess in naturally beautiful areas. It is a practice that is frowned upon, and one the government does not treat lightly. It can be difficult to tell who is taking part in fly tipping and who is honest and responsible enough to take their waste to the appropriate facility. This article is a guide on what fly tipping is and some advice for dealing with the act, who to contact about getting the waste removed, as well as the punishments that can be received for tipping waste in this way. Hopefully, it will provide some help and insight.
What Is Fly Tipping?
It is the illegal act of dumping waste and is also deemed a crime. Usually, the waste is dumped at the side of the road, on private land, or in forested areas where people think the waste will not be found. The most common types of waste to be found in fly tipping piles are household waste, animal corpses, and vehicle parts, white goods and asbestos and plasterboard. The reason for this is that it is not only easy and convenient, but also means that the person dumping the waste doesn’t have to pay for any kind of license or disposal fee.
What are the Impacts?
Fly tipping has several negative impacts on both the community and the environment. They are as follows:
- Can cause pollution to the environment
- Risk to human and animal health, including farm animals
- It ruins the countryside and nature
- Undermines legitimate and responsible waste management companies
- Is expensive to clean up (approximately £100m per year)
- Affects 67% of farmers negatively
- Seen as a problem or concern by three quarters of landowners
The government has become harsher on those who engage in fly tipping, with stricter punishments to try and deter them from the task. Those who take part in fly tipping can now be fined up to £50,000 in a magistrate’s court, and face unlimited fines in higher ones. They can also be made to complete community service or take a prison sentence of up to five years (depending on the severity of the fly tipping).
Those who decide to fly tip can now also be made to pay for the court costs and the total price of cleaning the area up. Many pieces of legislation regarding fly tipping and its illegality have been created and enacted to help prevent it from happening.
What to Do?
You might be wondering what you are expected to do should you come across someone who is fly tipping. The first thing to remember is that you should not make it obvious that you are watching them. If you are taking photos or videos, keep the camera out of sight. You can pretend to talk on the phone if you need a better video view.
People who are engaging in this activity know they are doing something illegal, and so they are not going to be welcoming if they notice someone making notes. Remain inside your vehicle with the doors locked and leave if you feel as through trouble is about to start. Always record the license plate first in case you have to make a quick escape.
Never approach the waste or touch it. As it has been disposed of illegally, it is hard to tell what kind of waste has been deposited. It could be hazardous and so dangerous to touch. Always stay back and wait for the relevant authorities to arrive within the safety of your vehicle. You will be able to look with the police later.
Who Do You Call?
There is often confusion with regards to who you should call about fly tipping. There are three main bodies that you can report the incident to, although some are more specialist than others. First, the police can be contacted for any form of fly tipping and are able to handle it well. If they need expertise they will often bring someone with them as backup so they are able to deal with all cases effectively.
If there are drums or the waste has been placed in the river and is clearly causing pollution, you should call the environmental services to ensure they are dealt with correctly. While hazardous material is usually kept in a cylindrical drum, it can also be kept in square boxes and other containers.
So even if you think it might not be hazardous, you must never touch it. For everything else you can contact your local authority, such as the council. They will be out as soon as they are available to assess the situation and try to figure out who the culprit was.
For private land owners, unfortunately some councils may not feel it’s their responsibility to help, and if there is no evidence of who deposited the waste you may have to foot the bill for the removal of it. In these circumstances contact us for a competitive quote and we will see what we can do to try and keep the costs down for you.
Keeping Fly Tippers Away
If you own private land, then you may have already experienced either the act itself or a fear of it occurring. Here are some excellent tips for keeping them away from your land so that you, hopefully, don’t need to deal with them again.
- Keep the land tidy (messy land attracts fly tippers)
- Build a tall fence around your land
- Install CCTV
- You can consider hiring professional security
- Signs should be put out that inform those entering of things like CCTV
- If anyone has fly tipped on your land before, remove it ASAP to prevent others coming
- If anyone is caught fly tipping on your land, prosecute them. It can help stop others
Fly tipping is certainly looked down on in the UK, and it is punishable by a severe fine and jail time. It has the ability to ruin our countryside and cause severe pollution to our rivers and forests. To prevent fly tipping from happening, it is always best to stick with companies that are trusted and reliable. They may end up costing a little extra, but you know your waste is going to be disposed of and that it won’t be dumped. After all, dumped rubbish can be trailed and tracked back to you.