About fly-tipping

Why is fly-tipping a problem and what is being done about it?

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste. It can be liquid or solid in nature and can vary in scale significantly from a single bin bag of waste to large quantities of waste dumped from trucks. Fly-tipping differs from littering in that it invariably involves the removal of waste from premises where it was produced with the deliberate aim of disposing of it unlawfully, or as a result of legitimate outlets not being available.

What are the causes of fly-tipping?

The causes of fly-tipping are many and varied, as are the motivations of the perpetrators, although financial gain or financial saving is clearly a principal reason in the majority of cases. However, a lack of waste disposal facilities or access to them, laziness and an attitude that someone else will clear up the waste, all have a part to play. There have been studies into the causes of fly-tipping most notably the report by the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science which concluded fly-tipping is not one problem but several distinguishable problems calling for different solutions.

Fly-tipping is a problem because:

  • It costs an estimated £86m-£186 million every year to investigate and clear up. This cost falls on taxpayers and private landowners.
  • Fly-tipping poses a threat to humans and wildlife, damages our environment, and spoils our enjoyment of our towns and countryside.
  • Fly-tipping undermines legitimate waste businesses where illegal operators undercut those operating within the law. At the same time, the reputation of legal operators is undermined by rogue traders.
  • As with other things that affect local environment quality, areas subject to repeated fly-tipping may suffer declining property prices and local businesses may suffer as people stay away.

Photograph courtesy of Keep Britain Tidy