Fly-tipping - what you can do

If you dump waste where it is not permitted you can face very large fines and even be sent to prison. If you see anyone else fly-tipping, you should report it to your council.

What is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of rubbish or bulky items on land not licensed to receive it. It can be dangerous to health, it pollutes land and waterways and costs significant amounts of public money, which could be better spent elsewhere, to clear away.

Dumping waste illegally is a serious criminal offence that can carry a very large fine. An offender can even be sent to prison. It is also an offence to allow fly-tipping to take place.

Fly-tipping is often associated with dumping waste from vehicles. In this case the person who owns the vehicle can also be prosecuted, which means that it is possible for a prosecution to occur when only the vehicle, not the driver, is identifiable.

The police and authorised officers of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs also have the powers to stop, search and seize vehicles used or suspected of being used for illegal waste activities, including fly-tipping.

Your local council provides waste disposal sites and recycling centres where you can safely and legally recycle/dispose of unwanted items.

What to do about fly-tipped waste

If you discover fly-tipped waste do not:

  • touch the waste - it may contain syringes, broken glass, asbestos, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances
  • disturb the site; there may be evidence that could help identify the fly-tippers and lead to their prosecution

What you should do:

  • visually try to work out what the waste consists of and how much there is
  • make a note of the day, date and time you saw the tipping, its exact location and whether it is in, or near, water

If you see someone fly-tipping make a note of:

  • how many people are involved and what they look like
  • what has been tipped - how much and what it looks like
  • details of any vehicles involved including make, colour and registration number if possible

Report waste crime

Dumping or burning waste where it's not allowed, or allowing others to do so, is a criminal offence. You can find out more about waste crime and how you can report it in the following links:

More useful links

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