What is fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of items
- general household waste
- large domestic items (e.g. fridges and
- commercial waste (e.g. builders' rubble and
- garden refuse
- litter or refuse accumulation
Why do people fly-tip?
Most people fly-tip to avoid paying the
disposal fee called the landfill tax. Household rubbish is
already paid for through council tax, but other waste is not, and a
charge is generally made to have this waste collected or to drop
the waste off at a licensed site yourself.
Why is fly-tipping illegal?
Fly-tipping can be dangerous. Dumping
waste can be hazardous to the public; especially when the waste
consists of drums of toxic material, asbestos sheeting or
syringes. Fly-tipping can also pollute surrounding land and
waterways, damage wildlife and ecosystems and costs the council tax
payer significant amounts of money to clear away.
In the UK, waste is disposed of under laws that impose a
duty on producers and transporters of waste to ensure that all
waste is disposed of properly. Only holders of a
Waste Carriers License can recover, transport,
deposit or dispose of waste. Waste can be deposited only at
officially authorised sites. Fly-tipping is illegal.
Anyone caught fly-tipping waste is committing a serious
What is the law regarding fly-tipping?
There are several pieces of legislation relating to
fly-tipping. In England, Wales and Scotland, the main
legislation is the
Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990), Sections 33, 34
and 59. However, the recent Clean Neighbourhoods Act 2005
also makes some extra provision for tackling fly-tipping.
The following punishments can apply for
Cases that go to a Magistrates Court carry a
fly-tipping fine up to £50,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.
If the case goes to the Crown Court fines are unlimited and a
sentence of up to 5 years in prison can be awarded if hazardous
waste is dumped.
The person found guilty of fly-tipping is now
liable for the costs incurred by the Council in investigating and
clearing up the incident.
You could also face the same penalties if:
- you allow someone to fly-tip on your
- a vehicle registered to you is used to
You could face penalties of up to £5,000 for duty of care
offences, if you don’t check that the company or person you give
- has a license to carry waste
- is not taking it to an unlicensed site.
It is an offence to permit or authorise
fly-tipping on land where a Waste Management License is not held.
Where fly-tipping involves the use of a vehicle, the driver can be
prosecuted, as can the owner of the vehicle. The police and courts
have powers to seize vehicles used for fly-tipping and either sell
or dispose of them.
It is the policy of the Council to seek to
prosecute each offence of fly-tipping reported to us (where
evidence can be found). Think before you take the
Your responsibilities as a landowner
Bedford Borough Council is only responsible
for clearing fly-tipped waste from the public highway and council
maintained parkland and green space. The council also has the
powers to remove fly-tipped waste from commercial premises, subject
to a court order.
Clearing fly-tipping from private land is the
responsibility of the landowner.
If you are responsible for land or are a
private land owner, you must ensure that your land is as secure as
is practically possible.
Advice on how to dispose of my waste?
Businesses: Waste produced as a result of
business activity is classed as controlled waste. You are
therefore legally responsible for making sure that it is disposed
of correctly. For further information on what to do with your waste
Waste Directory Datasearch. This site has specific guidance on
what to do with your waste based on the type of business your
If you pay for a trade waste collection make sure that
your waste is collected by a registered Waste Carrier. To check
whether a company is registered use this link to check the
Environment Agency’s Public Registers.
Householders: THINK BEFORE YOU
START ANY DIY!
If you are having a new kitchen or bathroom put in take a moment
to think about how you are going to dispose of the waste before you
get started. Hire a skip (see local telephone directory or
search the internet). Some DIY waste can be taken to your local
Household Waste Site but there are some restrictions, both on the
amount of waste you can take and the vehicle you use to take it
to the HWRC. For more information visit Household Waste Recycling
IF IN DOUBT CHECK!
If you are having alterations or improvements made to your
house by a company, make sure they are disposing of the waste
correctly. By law householders are now responsible for
checking that contractors are correctly disposing of waste. Ask to
see a waste transfer certificate/license.
Check the company is registered on the
Environment Agency’s Public Register.
REMEMBER: There are no excuses!
USE THE COUNCILS BULKY COLLECTION SERVICE
If you have any bulky waste such as free standing
furniture or suites, fridges and freezers etc., these can be
collected from you for a small charge. Click here for further details.
DON’T FORGET - you can also take fridges and freezers to
your local Household Waste Recycling Centre at
What to do if you witness somebody fly-tipping? Report
How to report a case of fly-tipping?
You can either use the online
form to report an incident of fly-tipping or call us
on 01234 718060. Information that you
enter on the form is strictly
We will ask you for the following
- The date, time and place that you saw the
- What has been fly-tipped and how much and
what it looks like.
- Any vehicle details and description
- Description of the person/people
- Any photographic evidence taken
- Your contact details (in case our Officers
have trouble locating the fly-tip).
NEVER touch the waste - it may contain
syringes, broken glass, asbestos, toxic chemicals or other
NEVER disturb the site - there may be evidence
that could help identify the fly-tippers and lead to their
NEVER approach anyone you see fly-tipping -
they could become violent.
If you have any further questions about
fly-tipping, please call us on 01234 718060.