Dumping waste on any land which doesn't have an Environmental Permit, or allowing others to do so on your behalf is a criminal offence. You could face very large fines and even be sent to prison.
Apart from being an eyesore, fly-tipping can lead to serious pollution of land and waterways, blight our countryside and open spaces, increase fear of crime, and harm both wildlife and human health.
Ourselves, along with the Environment Agency, are responsible for investigating and clearing fly-tipping on public land. Clearing fly-tipping from private land is the responsibility of the landowner (see advice for landowners) although the council will investigate and take action where there is sufficient evidence. Fly-tipping costs council taxpayers and landowners significant amounts of money to clear away.
Everyone has a legal responsibility or 'duty of care' to make sure that all waste from their household (see advice for households) or business (see advice for business) is disposed of correctly and doesn't end up being fly-tipped.
Some people make money by charging to take waste away illegally and then fly-tipping it. You could face penalties of up to £5,000 if you don’t check that the company or person you give waste to:
- has a licence to carry waste
- is not taking it to an unlicensed site
- don't touch the waste - it may contain syringes, 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 - take photos if it is safe to do so
- make a note of the day, date and time you saw the tipping, its exact location and whether it’s in or near water. Keep any notes you make, even scribbled ones, as they can be very valuable as evidence
- contact us as soon as possible so that we can investigate
If you witness someone fly-tipping, make a note of:
- how many people are involved and what they look like
- what has been dumped - how much and what it looks like
- details of any vehicles involved including make, colour and registration number if possible
- call 999 if the incident is still in progress
Be very careful. Remember that fly-tippers are doing something illegal – they are unlikely to welcome people observing them or taking notes or photographs.
Report fly-tipping to Customer Services
You can dispose of most household waste at the network of Household Waste and Recycling Centres around Suffolk. If this isn’t convenient then the council can arrange to come and collect a wide range of items from you through the councils Bulky Collection Service.
However, if you are considering using anyone else to dispose of your waste, please watch our short file "Tripping up the Tippers" first and remember the SCRAP code:
- Suspect - beware of rogue waste carriers who dump waste illegally. If in doubt do not let them take your waste
- Check - ask to see their waste carrier's licence - you can check the details on the public register or by calling 08708 506506. Note down the licence details and the registration number of the vehicle used to take your waste away
- Refuse unsolicited offers - always carry out your own research and choose who you want to take your waste away
- Ask questions - ask what is going to happen to your waste, and seek evidence that it is going to be disposed of appropriately. A legitimate, professional waste carrier should not object to being asked reasonable questions
- Paperwork - make sure you get a proper invoice and receipt for your waste
Businesses have a broader duty of care than householders and are required to ensure that waste is stored safely and securely, and that waste information notes are completed for each load of waste removed. Full details of your responsibilities
- If you give your business waste to anyone other than our own business waste services or take it to one of the Household Waste and Recycling Centres, you must check that they are a registered waste carrier. You can check the public register of waste carriers or call 08708 506506.
- You must ensure that you complete waste information notes (often called Waste Transfer Notes) relating to all waste that comes from your business. You must keep these for a period of two years. Failure to produce these notes when asked by ourselves or the Environment Agency is an offence, for which you could be fined.
For more information, see the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group guide for businesses for individuals and the Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice.
Landowners are responsible for removing and disposing of any waste fly-tipped on their land. You can protect your land from fly-tipping by:
- installing gates or barriers, ideally in keeping with the natural environment
- making sure that gates are closed when not in use
- improving visibility so that fly-tippers are not hidden from view
- appropriate signage, CCTV or dummy cameras. Download signage
- swiftly clearing any dumped waste to discourage others from adding to it
- report all incidents to the council - whilst the council will not remove waste free of charge, we can investigate and take enforcement action where possible - in the event of prosecution this can include an application to the courts to receive landowner's costs
For more information, see the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group guide for landowners. The Environment Agency have also produced a short guidance video for landowners.