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Fly-tipping has been featured in the news recently, but what exactly does it mean?

Any waste that is dumped at a location without permission or the relevant licence to accept it is classed as fly-tipping. It is a criminal offence and if convicted, carries sentences including imprisonment, substantial fines of up to £50,000 and deprived rights to a vehicle used to commit the offence.

Not only is it detrimental to the environment, but it can also have dangerous and hazardous consequences. Asbestos, for example, carries a heavy gate fee for disposal and is usually found in fly-tipped sites by those attempting to save costs. Hazardous waste can kill surrounding natural habitats or poison local water sources. Even everyday products such as batteries have the capacity to produce life-threatening ailments for humans and animals when incorrectly disposed of.

How does fly-tipping affect businesses? 

To transport waste, businesses such as Countrystyle Recycling hold a Waste Carriers License, meaning that the company is legally allowed to carry & transfer waste and it is their duty to compliantly dispose of the waste. However, the waste producer also has a duty to ensure that its waste is compliantly disposed of and is transported under the correct European Waste Catalogue (EWC) Code to locations with appropriate Site Licenses.

It is the law under the Duty of Care Legislation for businesses to have a complete audit trail of its waste to its final destination: be it recycled, recovered into energy, sent to landfill or handled in a specific facility for specialist treatment before processing.

To ensure that your business is fully compliant under the Duty of Care Legislation, Waste Transfer Notes should be left on collection for reference.

What does this mean for the waste producer?

It is not only the individuals or company fly-tipping that is breaking the law. Fly-tipped waste can be traced back to the waste producer (e.g. via discarded addressed letters, marked furniture, photos) leading to hefty fines. It is the responsibility of the waste producer to use a reputable company with the appropriate licenses and can supply the waste audit trail.

What happens if you come across fly-tipped material?

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence and should be reported immediately to your local Council. Do NOT try to clear the fly-tipped waste as it could contain hazardous materials and you may be liable for prosecution if you do not hold a Waste Carriers License should you move it yourself.

What happens if waste is fly-tipped on my property/land/business premises?

Material fly-tipped on private land, is the responsibility of the landowner to arrange the safe removal and pay for any costs incurred. Fly-tipped waste can be collected by any reputable waste company with a full Duty of Care traceability. Local councils should also be informed. It is advised to have security measures put in place to ensure that further repercussions do not occur.

If the material is on public land, Kent police have created links to local Councils which can direct you to the correct reporting area