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Fly-tipping - what you can do

Dumping waste where it is not allowed, or allowing others to do so, is a criminal offence. You could face very large fines and even be sent to prison. Find out how to avoid fly-tipping and how to report it to your council.

What is fly-tipping?

Report fly-tipping to your local council

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste on land that does not have a licence to receive it.

Waste might include:

  • electrical goods
  • furniture
  • building waste
  • chemicals

Fly-tipping can be dangerous, pollute land and waterways and costs the tax payer significant amounts of money to clear away.

What happens if you are caught fly-tipping

Dumping illegally is a serious criminal offence that carries a fine of up to £50,000 (unlimited if the case goes to the Crown Court). You could also face a prison sentence of up to five years for fly-tipping. Local councils treat fly-tipping very seriously and will usually prosecute anyone caught fly-tipping waste.

You could also face the same penalties if:

  • you allow someone to fly-tip on your land
  • a vehicle that is registered to you is used to fly-tip

You could face penalties up to £5,000 if:

  • you don’t check that the company or person you give waste to has a licence to carry waste
  • you don’t check that the company or person you give waste to is not taking it to an unlicensed site

You can check whether a company is licensed to carry waste by searching the public register on the Environment Agency website.

You can check whether the site your waste is being taken to is licensed by searching the NetRegs waste directory.

Recycling and getting rid of your waste legally

Most household waste can be recycled. Your local council provides waste disposal sites and recycling centres where you can safely and legally get rid of unwanted items.

See ‘Waste and recycling: a quick guide’ to find out how you can reduce the amount of waste you create, and how to dispose of electrical and hazardous waste safely.

What to do about fly-tipped waste

If you discover fly-tipped waste:

  • don't touch the waste - it may contain syringes, broken glass, asbestos, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances
  • don't disturb the site - there may be evidence that could help identify the fly-tippers and lead to their prosecution


  • 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 fly-tipping to your council

You should contact your local council if you see someone fly-tipping or to report fly-tipped waste; in both cases, provide as much detail as possible. The following link will allow you to enter your details and take you to your local council website where you can find out more.

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