In 2019, there were over a million incidents of fly-tipping in England alone, costing an astonishing £60m of taxpayers’ money to clean up, seeing an 8% increase from 2018. The government has released records expressing that nearly two-thirds of fly-tips involved household waste, such as materials from the home or shed clearances, carpets, old furniture and DIY waste.
In this article, we discuss what fly-tipping is and the ways you can prevent it to avoid a hefty fine.
What is fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping is defined as the illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a license to accept it. It usually occurs when the offender wishes to dispose of waste, but equally wants to avoid paying disposal costs.
The legal obligations of fly-tipping
Fly-tipping is a criminal offence that doesn’t let you off lightly. When caught fly-tipping, the fine for the crime can reach up to £50,000 or even 12 months imprisonment if convicted further in court. There are several penalties involved with fly-tipping and they can occur for anyone, even those who are a victim of fly-tipping rather than a perpetrator.
When looking to remove rubbish from your home or land, you must do your research before allowing someone to remove your rubbish for you. If the rubbish is fly-tipped, you could be found guilty of the offence, even if you were not the one disposing of it.
If you become a victim of fly-tipping, you are unfortunately responsible for clearing it, according to the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group. Fly-tipping needs to be reported to the local authority as councils are not known to clear fly-tipping from your land without a fee, but they may investigate further which could lead to prosecution. If you keep a record of your disposal costs, you could successfully recover them if prosecution occurs.
The implications and aftermath
Despite the financial effect of fly-tipping being so impactful, the real cost lies with the influence that it has on the environment. Certain waste can release toxic chemicals, which can cause harm to plants, animals and even humans.
Asbestos is an extremely harmful material that can cause many medical issues. If you believe that there is asbestos on your property, you mustn’t attempt to remove it yourself but instead get in touch with a professional waste management company for expert removal services.
It can affect us on an emotional level, too, as no one wants to live in an environment where rubbish surrounds us or ruins the beautiful natural surroundings. Fly-tipping can encourage unpleasant smells, flies and pests which could also affect local business and property values.
Clearing up the mess
With any small amount of fly-tipping on public land, local authorities are responsible for investigating and clearing any of the waste – following with enforcement. Larger amounts, including hazardous waste or illegal events, are dealt with by the Environment Agency.
The Environment Agency and local authorities both can legally impact landowners who don’t get rid of fly-tipping, even if it doesn’t belong to them.
There are many things that you can do to prevent fly-tipping:
CCTV and warning signs
Even the use of a non-working camera system will scare potential criminals from entering your property. Using signs such as ‘’Fly-tippers will be prosecuted’’ will help make it clear that you are aware of fly-tippers and have a process in place to prevent the crime from occurring.
If you are concerned that fly-tippers won’t listen to the warning signs, physically restricting access to your property or land will make it almost impossible for them to do so. Whether it be the use of gates, fences or tree trunks etc, it will help deter fly-tippers from entering.
If you do have restricted access in the form of a gate, it’s important to remember to keep them locked as often as possible. Installing an automated light system that activates by movement will scare fly-tippers as they will not want to be easily exposed or caught in the act.
Keep an eye out
If you find yourself in a situation where you witness someone fly-tipping on your property, do not approach them. It is incredibly unsafe to approach them as someone committing such crimes could pose a danger to you and your community. It is also important not to approach the fly-tipping itself, in case any hazardous materials are lurking.
For information on how we can help support you in the event of fly-tipping, or if you’re simply looking for waste management or site clearance services, please contact us today – call 01666 505800 or email us at email@example.com.