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How to combat fly-tipping and illegal waste

White goods left as waste

Posted 5 months ago

What is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is becoming more of a problem as of late, and it is something that, here at Hurley’s Skip Hire, we are trying to combat. Fly-tipping is the unlawful disposal of any waste, including household, commercial and hazardous waste,  and is considered an environmental crime in the UK. It is also important to note that fly-tipping and illegal waste can be in solid or liquid form. 

As you can imagine, it has a detrimental effect on local communities, public health and the environment, and it is our responsibility as a community to help prevent fly-tipping and illegal waste as much as we possibly can. 

Most recent reports from Fly-tipping Statistics for England show that there was a 16% increase in fly-tipping incidents, totalling 1.13 million, in the 2020/21 year compared to 2019/20, which totalled 980,000 incidents. 

'No tipping or dumping' warning sign

What is illegal waste?

According to the Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice, there are a few ways in which waste can illegally be disposed of, for example, operating illegal waste sites without having “the correct permit or appropriate exemption to accept or manage a particular waste.” (Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, 2018) 

Additionally, the code of practice states that other ways in which waste can illegally be disposed of include: 

  • The misclassification of waste as non-waste
  • Waste that does not fit its written description

Who is responsible for preventing fly-tipping? 

The waste producer is responsible for making sure that the person or company disposes of the waste correctly. The person wanting to get rid of the waste needs to ensure that the person who takes their rubbish away is a fully registered waste carrier and that the waste is being taken to a place that is licensed by the Environment Agency

When fly-tipping is being investigated, the person/company who illegally tipped the waste, as well as the person who paid for this to happen is held responsible. 

There are, however, also other means to ensure that waste is disposed of correctly. Let’s take a look at some of the organisations that also take responsibility for this environmental disaster. 

Local Authorities: 

Our local authorities are responsible for investigating and taking the appropriate action (including enforcement action) when it comes to small-scale fly-tipping and illegal waste on public land. Local authorities are also responsible for clearing waste on public land. 

Environment Agency in England: 

If the scale of fly-tipping is larger, then the Environment Agency will step in and deal with the problem. This scale is deemed larger than a lorry load’s worth of waste. The agency also deals with fly-tipping on behalf of organised gangs. 

Landowner: 

If the waste has been offloaded onto private property, it is usually the responsibility of the landowner to dispose of it. 

Additionally, it is also important to note that local authorities and the Environment Agency have the legal right to require landowners to clear all fly-tipped waste from their property. Equally, they are also legally able to enter the privately owned land and clear it as they see fit; they may also seek financial reimbursement related to this.  

What are the impacts of fly-tipping?

As you can imagine, fly-tipping and illegal waste has a negative impact on the environment. 

It can add to our already massive pollution problem, contaminating our soil, air, and water. Further to pollution, fly-tipping and illegal waste attract vermin and also pose a health hazard to our animals and people. Furthermore, waste can damage property and can make our community look unkempt and unsightly. 

Did you know that fly-tipping is paid for by our taxes as the waste needs to be cleared up by local authorities? So, if we make a collective effort to solve this problem, our tax money can be used for other purposes. 

Penalties for Fly-tipping:

So, what are the penalties for fly-tipping? 

  • Fines: there is currently no minimum limit on the amount of money you would need to pay as a fine should you be issued one under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act. 
  • Sentencing: you could also be sentenced for up to 5 years by the Crown Court 
  • Assets frozen: your assets can also be frozen or confiscated 
  • Fixed penalty notices: in small-scale fly-tipping incidents, local authorities in England can issue fixed penalty notices of between £150 to £400
  • Seizing property: local authorities or the Environment Agency has the legal right to seize vehicles with illegal waste

It is recommended that you report any illegal waste disposal to the Environment Agency if you suspect that any organisation is doing so. 

White goods left as waste

Waste duty of care:

We all have a duty of care when it comes to fly-tipping and illegal waste. The Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice has been drawn up to give information on how to safely manage waste in order to protect our environment and the health of humans. It also gives practical guidelines on how one can meet one’s waste duty of care requirements. 

The duty of care guidance is relevant for those who are:

  • waste producers
  • waste carriers
  • waste dealers
  • waste brokers
  • waste managers 

It is important to note here that this code of practice does not apply to householders but will still be relevant to householders should the use of waste disposal companies result in illegal waste disposal. So, as a householder, it is important to use registered waste carriers and pick a licensed and responsible company when dealing with waste management. 

What measures should you take when a private business takes your waste? 

If you need to hire a skip to remove your waste, there are a few things that you can do to ensure the business is doing everything it needs to in order to comply with all regulations. 

To meet your duty of care, it is important to ensure the business you are engaging with is an authorised carrier and that they are up-to-date on their upper tier registration. Each skip hire should have a registration number starting with CBDU, followed by a set of numbers. Furthermore, you can check that the business is registered on the Environment Agency’s public register. 

Hurleys Waste Management Ltd is a Licensed Waste Carrier, and you can rest assured that all waste is dealt with safely and responsibly according to regulations. 

Tips to deter fly-tipping:

Here are a few other ways to help with fly-tipping and illegal waste disposal. 

  • Dispose of your waste legally using a licensed waste carrier or taking your waste to a recycling centre.
  • Be aware of your local laws and regulations.
  • Educate others about the problem of fly-tipping and illegal waste.
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