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What should you do if you witness somebody fly-tipping?

Report it.

How can you report a case of fly-tipping?

You can either use the online form to report an incident of fly-tipping or call: 01234 718060
Information that you enter on the form is strictly confidential.

We will ask you for the following information:

  • The date, time and place that you saw the fly-tip
  • What has been fly-tipped and how much and what it looks like.
  • Any vehicle details and description
  • Description of the person/people involved
  • Any photographic evidence taken
  • Your contact details (in case our officers have trouble locating the fly-tip).



Never touch the waste - it may contain syringes, broken glass, asbestos, toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances.

Never disturb the site - there may be evidence that could help identify the fly-tippers and lead to their prosecution.

Never approach anyone you see fly-tipping - they could become violent.

If you have any further questions about fly-tipping, please call us on 01234 718060.


What is fly-tipping?



Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of items such as:

  • general household waste
  • large domestic items (e.g. fridges and mattresses)
  • commercial waste (e.g. builders' rubble and tyres etc)
  • garden refuse
  • litter or refuse accumulation
  • soil


Why do people fly-tip?

Most people fly-tip to avoid paying the disposal fee called the landfill tax.  Household rubbish is already paid for through council tax, but other waste is not, and a charge is generally made to have this waste collected or to drop the waste off at a licensed site yourself.


Why is fly-tipping illegal?

Fly-tipping can be dangerous.  Dumping waste can be hazardous to the public, especially when the waste consists of drums of toxic material, asbestos sheeting or syringes.  Fly-tipping can also pollute surrounding land and waterways, damage wildlife and ecosystems and costs the council tax payer significant amounts of money to clear away.

In the UK, waste is disposed of under laws that impose a duty on producers and transporters of waste to ensure that all waste is disposed of properly.  Only holders of a Waste Carriers License can recover, transport, deposit or dispose of waste.  Waste can be deposited only at officially authorised sites.  Fly-tipping is illegal.  Anyone caught fly-tipping waste is committing a serious offence.


Fly Tip

What is the law regarding fly-tipping?

There are several pieces of legislation relating to fly-tipping.  In England, Wales and Scotland, the main legislation is the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990), Sections 33, 34 and 59.  However, the recent Clean Neighbourhoods Act 2005 also makes some extra provision for tackling fly-tipping.

The following punishments can apply for fly-tipping offences:

  • Cases that go to a Magistrates Court carry a fly-tipping fine up to £50,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. 
  • If the case goes to the Crown Court fines are unlimited and a sentence of up to 5 years in prison can be awarded if hazardous waste is dumped.


The person found guilty of fly-tipping is now liable for the costs incurred by the Council in investigating and clearing up the incident.

You could also face the same penalties if:

  • you allow someone to fly-tip on your land
  • a vehicle registered to you is used to fly-tip


You could face penalties of up to £5,000 for duty of care offences, if you don’t check that the company or person you give waste to:

  • has a license to carry waste
  • is not taking it to an unlicensed site.


It is an offence to permit or authorise fly-tipping on land where a Waste Management License is not held. Where fly-tipping involves the use of a vehicle, the driver can be prosecuted, as can the owner of the vehicle. The police and courts have powers to seize vehicles used for fly-tipping and either sell or dispose of them.

It is the policy of the Council to seek to prosecute each offence of fly-tipping reported to us (where evidence can be found). Think before you take the risk!


Your responsibilities as a landowner:

Bedford Borough Council is only responsible for clearing fly-tipped waste from the public highway and council maintained parkland and green space.  The council also has the powers to remove fly-tipped waste from commercial premises, subject to a court order.

Clearing fly-tipping from private land is the responsibility of the landowner. If you are responsible for land or are a private land owner, you must ensure that your land is as secure as is practically possible.


Advice on how to dispose of business waste:

Waste produced as a result of business activity is classed as controlled waste.  Businesses are therefore legally responsible for making sure that it is disposed of correctly. For further information on what to do with business waste, visit: Gov.UK - Business and Commercial Waste.

If you pay for a trade waste collection, make sure that your waste is collected by a registered Waste Carrier. Check whether a company is registered here: Environment Agency’s Public Registers.

Rental properties are classed as businesses, and as such, landlords should be aware of their responsibilities in terms of waste disposal and Duty of Care. For further information please view: Landlords Guide to Duty of Care - Waste From Rental Properties.

Small amounts of trade/commercial waste can be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Barkers Lane for a charge. Please visit our Commercial Waste Centre page for more information before visiting the site.


Householders: Think before You Start any DIY!

If you are having a new kitchen or bathroom put in take a moment to think about how you are going to dispose of the waste before you get started.  Hire a skip (see local telephone directory or search the internet). Some DIY waste can be taken to your local Household Waste Site but there are some restrictions, both on the amount of waste you can take and the vehicle you use to take it to the HWRC.  For more information visit: Household Waste Recycling Centre.


If in doubt, check!

If you are having alterations or improvements made to your house by a company, make sure they are disposing of the waste correctly.  By law, householders are now responsible for checking that contractors are correctly disposing of waste. Ask to see a waste transfer certificate/licence.  Check the company is registered on the Environment Agency’s Public Register.


Remember: There are no excuses!

Use the Council's Bulky Collection Service

If you have any bulky waste such as free standing furniture or suites, fridges and freezers etc., these can be collected from you for a small charge. Further details:  Bulky Waste Collection.

Don't Forget - you can also take fridges and freezers to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre at Barkers Lane.


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