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The true cost of fly-tipping

In recent years there has been a rise in adverts for skips, van rubbish collections, and waste removals. Some of these companies are legitimate and offer a quality service but some are unlicensed companies/individuals attempting to make an easy profit. These people advertise very cheap rubbish removal services, collect your waste and go to a more rural area to fly tip. How does this potentially effect you?

How big a problem is fly-tipping?

Recent Government Fly-tipping statistics for England, 2020/21 show that:

  • For the 2020/21 year, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20.
  • As in the previous year, just under two thirds (65%) of fly-tips involved household waste. Total incidents involving household waste were 737,000 in 2020/21, an increase of 16% from 635,000 incidents in 2019/20.

Fly-tipping and UK law

Government sources state that fly-tipping is a criminal offence and can be punished with a maximum fine of £50,000. Serve punishments include a 12-month prison sentence and these are just for convictions conducted by a Magistrates Court.

More serious offences will be dealt with by a Crown Court that has powers to issue an unlimited fine and 5 years in prison. People who are found to be guilty of fly-tipping may also have to contribute to legal costs and compensation as well.

There is currently no minimum fine for unlawfully getting rid of waste under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act. Each sentence is judged individually but there are also a number of other possible penalties, including fixed penalty notices and having your vehicle seized. Householders can be fined up to £400 if they pass their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier which is then fly-tipped. For more in-depth information on this subject please check here.

The true cost of fly tipping

How does fly-tipping affect me?

The big question for some of you will be ‘Am I liable for a fine?’. In most cases the person who is getting rid of the rubbish or waste is liable and therefore will receive the fine for fly-tipping as opposed to the company or individual that committed the act. So any money you ‘saved’ from booking a cheaper service will be lost when you eventually have to pay the fine.

Fly-tipping costs the local authorities a lot of money every year, which has an effect on every resident in the area. It is estimated that fly-tipping costs local authorities in England approximately £50,000,000 and a huge £150,000,000 to private landowners per year. (

Which items are usually fly-tipped?

Some of the most commonly tipped items are;

  • Vehicle components such as car parts, tires, engine oil and petrol
  • Hazardous waste such as asbestos, paint, chemicals
  • Builders’ waste such as bricks, rubble, bathroom suites, kitchen units, plasterboard
  • Trade waste such as paperwork, industrial waste
  • White goods such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines
  • Household furniture waste such as mattresses, sofas, tables, beds
  • Garden waste such as grass cuttings, shrubs, tree branches
  • Small electrical items such as TVs, hoovers, lamps
  • Food and drink waste such as tin cans, pizza, bread, alcohol cans and bottles

Local authorities and councils do have provisions for picking up bulky waste but the rules differ from city to city, plus there is some ambiguity as to the amount of items, how often and the type of waste that can be collected. This confusion to the rules could contribute to the increase of fly-tipping.

Whether you are carrying out a house clearance, need a man with a van or own a small business which needs to get rid of mixed or hazardous waste, WasteOnline can offer you the best deals, locally and nationally.

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