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Fly-tipping Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Most of us would hate to think we are contributing to the million fly-tips per year, but some people accidentally are

What is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is defined as the ‘illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a licence to accept it’.

 

Tipping a mattress, electrical items or a bin bag full of rubbish in the street causes a local nuisance and makes an area look ugly and run down. At the larger end of the scale fly-tipping can involve several truckloads of construction and demolition waste being tipped on different types of land.

 

Uncontrolled illegal waste disposal can be hazardous to the public, especially if it contains toxic material or asbestos. There could be a risk of damage to watercourses and soil quality from the dumped waste.

 

In 2016/17 more than one million incidences of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England. The estimated cost of clearing up this waste was over £58 million. 

 

Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates' Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court. The courts can also issue orders to pay costs and to deprive rights to a vehicle used to commit the offence.

How do I get rid of my bulky rubbish like a mattress or fridge?

If you don’t have a car or are short on time - we offer a competitively priced bulky waste collection service for Walsall residents. We can help you remove three large items for £15 and six items for £30 (if residential waste). 

You can recycle all your household waste at our Recycling Centres

How can I stop my waste from being fly-tipped?

Bulky Waste (e.g. fridges, sofas etc.) – Walsall Council is not obliged to remove waste of this type; however, we do provide a bulky waste collection service. We can help you remove three large items for £15 and six items for £30. Find information about this service here.

 

You can book a bulky collection by contacting our team on 01922 653344. Please note this is a different number than the dedicated fly-tipping line 01922 653355.

 

Garden Waste – Walsall Council operates a garden waste collection

Garden waste can be taken to your local tip for composting or why not try composting at home.  Find information about your local recycling centre.

 

Commercial Waste – if you run a business, you must have a contract with a registered waste carrier to ensure that your waste is being taken away and disposed of correctly. If you are disposing of business waste yourself at a tip or a landfill, then the site must be licensed to take commercial waste. You will have to pay a gate fee and landfill tax.

 

If you are asking a third party (e.g. builder) to remove your waste as part of a job, you should ensure that they are a registered waste carrier. Ask to see their certificate, or alternatively check with the Environment Agency.

Can I pay someone locally to take my rubbish away?

Yes you can, but you must check they have a Waste Carrier’s Licence and dispose of your rubbish correctly. If they don’t have a licence they are operating illegally and should be reported. By giving your waste to someone else you could still face penalties of up to £5,000 and a criminal record if you don't check that the company or person has a licence to carry waste. Always ask to see their licence or arrange to have it taken by a licensed carrier. If in doubt contact the Environment Agency.

Report it - dumping waste is illegal

If you report it, with your help the crime can be investigated. If you see someone in the act of fly-tipping call 999 for immediate police assistance. If you want to report an incident where fly-tipping has taken place, take note of the following:

 

  • Date, time and place of the incident
  • What the waste looks like and how much there is
  • Descriptions of any person and/or vehicles involved along with the registration number

AS FLY-TIPPERS ARE DOING SOMETHING ILLEGAL, THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE CAUGHT. DO NOT APPROACH THEM OR PUT YOUR OWN SAFETY AT RISK.

 

Both Walsall Council and the Environment Agency have powers to tackle fly-tipping and they have agreed a fly-tipping protocol to address the important issues associated with the problem. The protocol sets out who will deal with different types of incidents.

 

Walsall Council will deal will smaller scale, more frequent incidents and the Environment Agency will deal with larger scale, more serious incidents of illegal waste disposal, or fly-tipping including hazardous wastes and tipping carried out by organised criminals.

 

Reports to the Environment Agency can be made using their national hotline number 0370 8506506.

What do I do if I find a fly-tip?

If you discover fly-tipped waste:

  • Do not  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
  • Make a note of the day, date and time you saw the rubbish, its location (the road and house/property it’s near, if it is not near a house the junction where the rubbish is or the nearest street light number on the road). 
  • Take a photo if it's safe and possible to do so.

How do I report a fly-tip?

The most effective way to report a fly-tip to us is by reporting it online here; it means the information goes straight to the people and team responsible for investigating and clearing fly-tips.

I’ve seen someone dumping rubbish, how do I report them? What information do you need?

We know it’s a small minority of people who continue to dump their rubbish in Walsall. When you report a fly tip to us, we will investigate the offence and will attempt to identify the offender. We rely on your help to bring prosecutions by reporting environmental crimes to us. We’ll need as much information as possible when you report it to us, including your name and contact details so that we can contact you for more information/to make a witness statement.

If you see someone fly-tipping, make a note of:

  • Where the rubbish has been dumped – e.g. road name and closest house/ property number/ lamp post number or junction with a road
  • 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
  • A photo if it’s safe and where possible

 

Reports of vehicles used for fly-tipping are investigated by our enforcement officers. We aim to trace and prosecute the registered owner of all vehicles involved in fly-tipping. The police also have the power to seize any vehicle used for this offence. If a vehicle registered to you is used to fly-tip it can be seized and crushed and both the driver and the owner of the vehicle can be prosecuted. Remember to only observe and take photos if it is safe to do so – do not put yourself at risk. Fly-tippers are doing something illegal so are unlikely to welcome people observing them or taking notes and photographs.

I’ve sent you a picture of a fly-tip via social media, why am I being asked to also report it on your website?

When we get reports on social media (Twitter or Facebook), it’s not always clear where the fly-tip is and further information will be needed – by reporting it via our website you can provide more information to pinpoint its exact location. The report goes straight to our team who will clear it usually within five working days. Please note clearing fly-tipping from private land is the responsibility of the landowner.

My neighbours are dumping rubbish in communal areas/ their front garden, who can I report this to? Can anything be done?

Sometimes just a gentle word with them may resolve the matter. However, we can help you if the dumped rubbish creates a statutory nuisance or health hazard. There are many legal powers than we can use, including around pest control and rubbish accumulation. You can still report these via the described methods and which can then be investigated. If you occupy a rented property you must report it to your landlord in the first instance.

 

Local businesses near me are dumping their rubbish on the street/ in the back alley, what can I do?

Report them, using the methods described above. We will then send our enforcement officers to investigate and take action against the perpetrators.

What does the council clear?

We are only responsible to clear public/council owned/maintained land. This includes:

  • ‘Adopted’ roads and footways
  • Council owned/maintained car parks
  • Council owned/maintained parks and other greenspaces
  • Council owned/maintained alleyways/access roads

 

We do not maintain or clear private land. The responsibility for this falls to the landowner.

 

If you are a private landowner, it is your responsibility to maintain and clear the waste and pay for any costs incurred in removing the waste. Failing to do so could result in fines or prosecution.

Why do you clear some areas and not others?

We are only responsible to maintain and clear public/council owned land. Fly-tips on private land fall under the responsibility of its landowner, although we can investigate the fly-tips on private land.

How long will it take to clear something once I report it?

We clear fly-tips on public/council-owned land within 5 working days of it being reported to us. If a fly-tip is on private land it is the responsibility of the landowner to clear the dumped rubbish. The council can still investigate it and can offer a chargeable service to remove it. Find out more about how our Commercial Service can help you.

I’m a private landowner, can the council help?

Clearing fly-tipping from private land is the responsibility of the landowner. If you are a private landowner and have become a victim of fly-tipping, it is your responsibility to safely remove rubbish that has been dumped and pay for any costs incurred.

 

If you need our help, you can contact our Commercial Waste Team.  If you are using a contractor, always make sure they are a registered waste carrier. You can check this by calling the Environmental Agency on 0370 8506506.

 

As a private landowner, you must ensure that your land is as secure as possible – think about why your land is being targeted. Is it easy to access? Are there no cameras? Take the necessary steps to ensure your land is secure. Penalties for fly-tipping will apply if you allow someone to fly-tip on your land or do not take the necessary actions to stop it from happening or if you fail to clear the land once you have been required to do so.

Someone has fly-tipped on my land – what do I do?

If you are a private landowner and become a victim of fly-tipping then it is your responsibility to safely dispose of the waste and pay any costs for doing so.

 

Report the incident to Walsall Council or the Environment Agency. Although neither have an obligation to remove the waste, they may be able to provide guidance on the best way to deal with the removal of the waste.

 

You will need to decide how to deal with the waste that has been dumped on your land.

 

Make sure that the waste cannot be interfered with or escape.

 

Check that any contractor employed to remove the waste is a registered waste carrier. You can do this by calling the general enquiries Environment Agency number on 0370 850 6506

 

Think about why your land has been targeted. Is the area easy to access? Is it an area where people cannot be seen fly-tipping? Once you have established the reason why your land has been targeted, you may want to take steps to make it less vulnerable.

What can I do if there is a fly tip near me on private land?

Please report it and let us know so that our enforcement officers can attend the site and contact the person responsible for the property/land. If they do not take action to clear the area we will take further legal action against them.

What do you do with hazardous waste that has been fly-tipped?

If the fly tip contains hazardous waste such as asbestos we have to arrange for a specialist contractor to remove it as it has to be properly handled and disposed of at a specially licensed site. As with any fly-tip do not put yourself at risk by touching or moving the dumped waste. Please note clearing fly-tipping from private land is the responsibility of the landowner. 

What can I do to help keep my community clean?

We welcome your help in making Walsall clean and there are many things you can do to keep the borough clean and safe. This includes organising community litter picks where we will support you by providing bags and other equipment. We will also agree a place for the waste to be stacked after the clear up and agree a time for its collection.

 

Please contact us on 01922 653355 or email us at flytipping@walsall.gov.uk
 

Finally know where your waste must go, ensuring you manage your bins and report those that are not disposing of their waste properly.

What actions do you take against people who fly-tip in Walsall?

Fly-tipping isn’t just disgusting and dirty, it’s illegal and we will prosecute those we find dumping waste illegally and dangerously in Walsall.

Dumping waste illegally is a serious criminal offence (Environmental Protection Act 1990) and carries a fine of up to £50,000 (unlimited if the case goes to the Crown Court). Fly-tippers can also face a prison sentence of up to five years, and can have their vehicle seized and crushed. Local authorities can also, where appropriate, issue fixed penalty notices up to £400.

You have CCTV cameras everywhere, so why are more people not caught?

A camera is not able to automatically tell us who a person is, or where they live or come from.  We are reliant on being able to trace such persons, and that is where information from the public is very helpful. If you yourself have CCTV evidence, please report this to us and provide as much information as possible as well as your contact details so our officers can get in touch. We do put cameras up in hot spot areas to help trace the culprits.