1. Fly-tipping is the illegal deposit of waste on land contrary to Section 33(1)(a) of
the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The types of waste fly-tipped range
from ‘black bag’ waste, sofas and mattresses to large deposits of materials
such as industrial waste, tyres, construction material and liquid waste. Fly-
tipping is a significant blight on local environments; a source of pollution; a
potential danger to public health and hazard to wildlife. It also undermines
legitimate waste businesses where unscrupulous operators undercut those
operating within the law.
2. Local authorities and the Environment Agency both have a responsibility in
respect of illegally deposited waste. Local authorities have a duty to clear fly-
tipping from public land in their areas. They may also investigate these and
carry out a range of enforcement actions. The Environment Agency
investigates and enforces against the larger, more serious and organised illegal
waste crimes. Both are required to collect data on their activity and report this
to the specially designed WasteDataFlow system.
3. Responsibility for dealing with fly-tipping on private land rests with landowners
[REDACTED]. Some local authorities may offer a clearance service but they
are likely to charge for this. The Environment Agency or Local authorities may
choose to investigate such incidents if there is sufficient evidence. Defra has
published fly-tipping data for England each year since 2004-05. The information
to be published for 2016-17 is an Official Statistics Notice, together with a
detailed breakdown of the number of fly-tipping incidents and enforcement
actions by each local authority in England and a summary of activity by the
Environment Agency covering large scale incidents.
4. In May 2016 local authorities were given the power to issue fixed penalty
notices for small scale fly-tipping. This was a Government manifesto
commitment. This has given them an alternative to prosecutions and assists
them in taking a proportionate enforcement response. Other tools available to
them include the power to seize and destroy vehicles used for fly-tipping. On
prosecution in the courts offenders could face unlimited fines or 5 years in
prison. Their ability to obtain waste operation permits in the future will also be
5. Keep Britain Tidy have an ongoing anti-fly-tipping campaign with local
authorities which #CrimeNotToCare which is aimed at encouraging
householders to do the right thing with their waste and not fly-tip it. These
statistics will play into that space.
6. Defra are aware of local authorities interpreting the fly-tipping guidance
differently and believe consistency for England is a challenge. Due to a higher
level of estimation made for the previous year (2015/16), some caution is
needed in the interpretation of year-on-year changes and longer term trends.