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The Problem with Fly-Tipping

Fly-tipping is a major, on-going problem. Fly-tipped waste or the dumping of waste in a non-authorised location is illegal. And there are harsh penalties including fines or even prison, depending on the severity.

A news article published last week in the south part of the UK, reported a man was slapped with a fine of nearly £2000 after dumping a bath tub full of plasterboard: Man dumped old bath tub full of plasterboard at Somerset docks - Somerset Live .

We’ve discussed the factors involved in disposing of plasterboard incorrectly and the damaging consequences (The Do's & Don’ts of the disposal of plasterboard ( but the bottom line is fly tipping whether hazardous or not, poses a real threat to the environment and to health.


Whilst facilities such as landfills are appropriately designed to prevent waste mixing or seeping into the ground. Naturally if waste is irresponsibly dumped, these safeguards are not in place. Therefore, the surrounding area would be polluted and toxins from hazardous waste may seep into the soil and have an adverse effect on drinking water.

As well as the possible effects from the toxins of waste, there is also the physical consequences of fly-tipping, e.g. unstable piles of waste or exposed sharp materials such as nails could be unsafe for anyone who came into contact.


Typically, the materials most likely to be dumped are rubber tyres, electrical appliances and equipment that is a fire hazard, which could harm or destroy local natural habitats.

Piles of waste can also attract unwanted vermin such as rats or mosquitoes.

Repeated fly tipping in the same area can also have a negative effect on property values.

Who picks up the tab?

A person identified as dumping waste can be fined up to £20,000 – With them either caught in the act or leaving waste that can be traced back to them. If the case is taken to Crown Court, fines can be unlimited, and a prison sentence could be given.

If a ‘cowboy’ waste removal company is hired and fly tip waste, the owner of the waste could be fined up to £5,000 and receive a prison sentence.

If no owner is found, it is unfortunately the responsibility of the local council or landowner to pick up the tab and remove the waste.

Fly-tipped Waste Problems; Facts & Figures:

  • Since 1960, there has been approximately a 500% increase in litter

  • Over a weekend up to 1.3 million pieces of rubbish are dropped on Highway Agency roads

  • Owing to the increase in fly tipping and dropped litter, streets have seen the rat population boom to around 60 million. In scarier terms – that means there are nearly as many rats as people in the UK!

  • Over 100,000 sea creatures and birds die every year through rubbish related causes

Fly-tipped waste problems pose serious consequences for more than just the environment. If we can help to spread awareness, then we can help to beat the cause.

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