How to React When Somebody Fly-Tips on Your Land
How to React When Somebody Fly-Tips on Your Land
As fly-tipping becomes a more popular avenue for disposing of unwanted waste, local authorities are finding the issue hard to cope with. For those who have seen their land become a site for fly tipping, farm estate insurance providers, Lycetts, which has an office in Yorkshire, has prepared this guide on what you can do, as well as steps which can be taken to reduce the chance of it occurring in the first place.
Most common types of fly-tipping
Essentially, fly-tipping is disposing of waste on land that is not licensed to hold it. However, there seems to be certain items that continue to appear on sites throughout the country — some of the most common types of waste are:
• Construction waste.
Does fly-tipping happen often?
Keep Britain Tidy’s CEO, Allison Ogden-Newton, commented on fly-tipping in the UK saying that it has become a crisis that is hard to deal with — this comment followed a freedom of information request by ITV News which highlighted the importance of the matter.
The report suggested that some council regions in the UK saw fly-tipping increase by a fifth annually. For example, almost 40,000 reported incidents were recorded in the North London district of Haringey between November 2015 and December 2016, with more than 30,000 incidents also reported in Manchester over the same period.
Although there are some places around Britain where fly-tipping has decreased in recent years, removing the problem entirely still seems to be an issue. In Birmingham, for instance, the number of fly-tipping cases were down by 13 per cent between November 2015 and December 2016. However, the figure during this period was still recorded at 21,000 offences.
“Fly-tipping is an epidemic, it’s reached crisis levels and something needs to be done about it. Local authorities are overwhelmed with instances of criminal fly-tipping and we need to address this urgently,” commented Ogden-Newton.
According to James Cuthbertson from Lycetts, Scotland also has a huge problem when it comes to fly-tipping. Near to 61,000 fly-tipping incidents are recorded in this country every single year, Mr Cuthbertson has found.
“The culprits tend to think of this practice as a victimless crime; but estimates put the cost to Scottish tax payers at £8.9 million a year to clear and dispose of tipped rubbish from council land. Farmers and other countryside custodians must meet the cost of clearing rubbish from private land themselves, at an average of £1,000 a time.”
Although there have been many attempts to reduce the amount of fly-tipping across the country, it still seems to have a greater presence.
1,602 prosecutions were executed between 2016-2017 in relation to fly-tipping scandals, according to figures released by the BBC. What’s more, 98 per cent of prosecutions made resulted in a conviction. During the same time period, councils across England served 56,000 fixed penalty notices with regard to cases of fly-tipping.
The price of fly-tipping
The consequence of fly-tipping could result in a five-year prison sentence, and a fine that has no boundaries. Also, owners of land who allow fly-tipping to occur on their property will also be committing fly-tipping offences.
“Fines of up to £40,000 can be imposed but, given budgetary constraints, the pursuit of fly tippers is well down the list of priorities of councils and the police. Furthermore, it is hard to gather evidence to bring a successful prosecution,” commented James Cuthbertson.
What you need to do as a victim of fly-tipping
Once you have found that your land has been a victim of fly-tipping, you instantly become responsible for it — you have a duty of care to have it removed. However, you must be careful when dealing with the waste heap — as it could be hazardous and cause further harm. Therefore, bags and drums should not be opened and piles of soil should be a cause for alarm bells, as the material could be contaminated or hiding dangerous material.
When you’ve found the waste, take notes of every detail and create a document discussing its placement. This includes where you located the waste, as well as taking photographs if possible. After all details have been recorded, report the case of fly-tipping to your local authority:
• Those in England and Wales should head to this GOV.UK page and report fly-tipping by first entering the postcode where the waste has been discovered.
• Those in Scotland should report fly-tipping waste by contacting Stopline directly on 0845 2 30 40 90.
• Those in Northern Ireland should head to nidirect.gov.uk and find details for their local council, who will be able to advise on the waste disposal sites and recycling centres based nearby for the safe and legal recycling or disposal of unwanted items.
Make sure that the waste is secure, so that it can’t further cause harm to anyone else and to ensure that no interactions occur.
When you’re having your waste removed, there are a few things you must do. First and foremost, do not take the waste to a licensed site yourself unless you’re registered as a waste carrier. If hazardous waste has been identified, it should only be carried and then disposed of by someone who is licensed to deal with hazardous waste.
If you’re looking to reclaim any financial costs from your fly-tipping experiences, make sure to keep record of how much you paid an external organisation to remove the heap — as well as the details of the organisation itself, in some cases, expenses are returned to the victim if a prosecution is successful.
“In the event you wake one morning to find the midnight cowboys have paid you a visit, if the problem is severe, it is worth consulting with your insurance broker. Most farm combined policies will cover the cost of removal and disposal, less an excess. In the event of a major fly-tipping incident, you could be very glad the cover is in place,” commented James Cuthbertson.
If you witness fly-tipping on your land in the moment, remember to stay safe. As the practice is illegal, people are unlikely to take kindly to their crime being observed. Do not confront the guilty parties, but instead immediately call 999 and then make a note the number of people involved, descriptions of their appearances, details about the waste being fly-tipped and information about any vehicles used — this includes the makes of the vehicles, their colours and their registration numbers, if you can make them out.
Preventing your land from becoming a recurring fly-tip location
As this can become a recurring problem if your land is an easy target, there are a few steps you can take.
Lockdown your entire premises through the use of gates, this will prevent any vehicles from offloading their waste when you’re not onsite and the gates are closed. Another option could be boulders — blocking pathways and shortcuts into your land will stop any unauthorized vehicle from entering.
If there is a risk they will get caught, fly-tippers will avoid your land completely. Therefore, work on improving visibility all around your property and its land, make sure high-quality exterior lighting is installed and in working condition, and set up CCTV cameras and appropriate signs alerting people of the technology’s presence.